Five Republican-led states sue over new rules to protect trans students

Republican officials in five states are suing to prevent the Biden administration's expansion of Title IX to include new protections for transgender students.

Finalized earlier in April, the new rules explicitly bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity under Title IX, a federal civil rights law to protect sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools. The regulations, which will go into effect in August, conflict with several state laws that bar transgender students and teachers from using bathroom policies that align with their gender identity. They also include language that prohibits gender identity-based harassment.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit on Monday accusing the administration of exceeding its authority in expanding the federal civil rights law. Paxton said in a statement that the new rules "mandat[e] compliance with radical gender ideology" in educational institutions to the detriment of women.

Republican attorneys general in four other states — Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana and Idaho — also sued the administration on Monday and accused it of government overreach. The states characterize the new rules as "a naked attempt to strong-arm our schools into molding our children in the current federal government's preferred image of how a child should think, act, and speak."

The lawsuits, which repeatedly refer to transgender women as "men," argue that the new Title IX rules will put women in danger. Research over the years has consistently found that transgender students face higher rates of harassment and bullying in schools than their cisgender peers and that anti-trans legislation exacerbates such discrimination.

The new Title IX rules had been widely expected to face legal challenges from GOP-led states, where lawmakers have increasingly green-lit blatantly anti-trans laws in recent years. Officials in Florida and Oklahoma have also said they will not comply with the regulations.

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