President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order Preventing and Combating Discrimination Based on Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation earlier this year.
The order reinstates LGBTQ Student-Athletes’ rights previously affirmed during the Obama-era and rolled back during Trump’s presidency.
In short, discrimination against transgender students is a violation of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, and discrimination against gay or lesbian people in housing decisions is also unlawful.
What does the order accomplish?
The Executive Order means that the bathroom preference in the transgender community is decided nationally as opposed to at a state level.
Most importantly, regardless of the political party or sitting administration, the EO simply reinforces the Supreme Court’s earlier decision, affirmed recently, in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County.
Rules for transgender athletes are already in place at college and Olympic levels, as well as in many states and school districts.
How does this affect Fullerton College?
In California, state-wide policy, collectively known as the Sex Equity in Education Act, expands upon gender equity and Title IX laws.
The state of California actively protects students’ rights by addressing and providing guidance on gender equity and equality.
At Fullerton College, our student population is comprised of a diverse community that includes transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals.
Hornets have access to resources like the Cadena Cultural Center, whose vision is to “Create an inclusive campus community where diversity is celebrated and all identities and experiences are appreciated, empowered, respected and supported,” according to the Cadena Center website.
By nurturing an inclusive environment, Fullerton College is proud to offer a wide variety of clubs and activities including the Queer Book Club, which is a lasting result of a request from an LGBTQ+ Forum at the school.
Many athletic associations such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) have, for years, dedicated numerous resources to support gender equity measures that promote gender equality.
Opposition to the Executive Order
Shortly after the Executive Order was released, conservative proponents took to social media to collectively voice their concern–that transgender-athletes competing creates an unfair playing field in middle and high schools, especially in girls’ sports.
Outside of California, Montana is among more than a dozen other states proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for trans minors in 2021.
In Connecticut, several female high school runners have filed a lawsuit to block transgender athletes from participating in girls’ sports.
What happens next?
For some, changes may be implemented related to discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status.
This could require schools that are not already doing so to allow students to play on athletic teams and to use bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity.
Although immediate changes for public school districts are not outlined in the order, this is a clear indicator of how Biden’s administration will continue to interpret and enforce the rights of other LGBTQ students.