Office for Civil Rights clarifies position on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination

The University of Southern California includes sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as protected characteristics in its Notice of Non-Discrimination statement and Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation. We highly value our LGBTQIA+ community members. We are gratified that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education has issued a new ruling that makes clear that its enforcement of Title IX encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This interpretation of Title IX follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s analysis in Bostockv. Clayton County (2020), which concluded that discrimination against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is inherently a form of discrimination based on sex. OCR’s Notice is also consistent with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division memorandum on the interpretation of Title IX issued earlier this year. As explained in OCR’s blog, the Notice “affirms our commitment to guaranteeing all students an educational environment free from discrimination. It also continues OCR’s efforts to promote safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ+ students, as underscored by the Biden Administration.” The site also includes an array of resources for LGBTQ+ students.