Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding. Title IX addresses sexual harassment, sexual violence, or any gender-based discrimination that may deny a student access to educational benefits and opportunities.
Furthermore, all students regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or citizenship status are covered under Title IX. Under Title IX all students are ensured safety from all forms of harassment and sexual violence, including violence against LGBQ students. This includes, but is not limited to:
Harassment (ie. verbal and physical bullying, stalking, etc.)
Same-sex sexual violence (ie. intimate partner violence, rape, etc.)
Conversion sexual assault (ie. assaulting lesbian women to change them into being heterosexual)
Recent conversations around Title IX guidance has left many students and survivors confused and concerned about their protections and rights. To clarify, schools are still required to ensure an equal access to education to all students regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Although, the Department of Education (ED) has indicated that discrimination based on sexual orientation is not covered under Title IX, harassment and bullying, whether based on sexual orientation or not, is still prohibited in schools and can cause a significant barrier to a student’s access to education.
Title VI is another federal law that is enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and/or national origin in education. All students of color, including LGBTQ students of color, are protected from discriminatory acts that may significantly inhibit them from receiving equal access to education.
Although Title VI does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation, many queer students of color are discriminated against on multiple bases other than sexual orientation. Therefore, there is a possibility that for queer students of color to file a Title VI complaint if a college or school district does not reasonably protect its students from violence and discrimination. Additionally, under Title VI and the January and October 2014 Dear Colleague Letters, bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on a student’s actual or perceived color, nationality, heritage/culture (ie. Jewish or Muslim cultures), and race is prohibited in education.