Last week, six Republican senators, including Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona contesting the department’s proposed Title IX protections for LGBTQ students.
“Your interpretation of Title IX will undermine that law’s very purpose by making schools and sports unsafe and unfair for women and girls,” the senators wrote. “Equally disturbing is the likelihood that your department will weaponize Title IX to force a radical gender ideology in K-12 classrooms.”
The senators requested a response by August 15 for 10 questions, including whether a school would violate Title IX by limiting the discussion of gender identity with young children. Other questions included whether using incorrect student pronouns counts as discrimination, if prohibiting facility access for transgender students violates Title IX, and if schools violate Title IX by notifying parents of their children’s gender identity or transition.
The letter comes after resistance to recent guidance put forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that interprets the prohibition of sex discrimination in Title IX to include protections related to sexual orientation and gender identity. A group of 22 Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the USDA in response to the memo, which said schools and related agencies failing to follow the guidance could be subject to investigations.
The memo was also rebuked by Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., who told education leaders in the state last week that they have “no obligation” to follow the recent guidance and questioned the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX enforcement protecting LGBTQ students.