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Sex Discrimination

Overview

The Department of Justice is charged with the coordination and implementation of federal nondiscrimination laws that protect individuals against discrimination on the basis of sex in a wide range of federally-funded programs and activities. Exec. Order No. 12250, § 1-201, 45 Fed. Reg. 72,995 (Nov. 4, 1980).  These laws include Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and other sex discrimination statutes conditioned on the receipt of federal financial assistance such as the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 ("Safe Streets Act").

In addition, Section 902 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, grants the United States an unconditional right to intervene in cases seeking relief from the alleged denial of equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on account of sex, if the Attorney General certifies that the case is of general public importance. 42 U.S.C. § 2000h-2.

Under these authorities, the Federal Coordination and Compliance Section has developed an extensive interagency coordination program to ensure consistent and effective implementation and enforcement of federal sex discrimination prohibitions.  This coordination program has allowed the Section to play a key role in implementing a governmentwide response to Executive Order No. 13988Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, reprinted at 86 Fed. Reg. 7023 (Jan. 20, 2021).      

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

On June 23, 1972, the President signed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., into law. Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The principal objective of Title IX is to avoid the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and to provide individual citizens effective protection against those practices.

Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education programs or activities. In addition to traditional educational institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of federal financial assistance. The Department of Education issued regulations on the requirements of Title IX, 34 C.F.R. § 106.1et seq., in 2000.  A Title IX common rule, published on August 30, 2000, covers education program providers/recipients that are funded by other federal agencies.

To get more information on Title IX, please visit the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights or the Educational Opportunities Section websites.

Statutes & Regulations

Title IX Statute (HTML version)

Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Safe Streets Act) (HTML version)

Department of Education Issues Proposed Changes to Title IX Regulations and Invites Public Comment:

20+ Federal Agencies Adopt Title IX Regulations through the 2000 Title IX Common Rule:

  • Title IX Final Common Rule for 21 Federal agencies:  Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance (65 Fed. Reg. 52857) (HTML or PDF) and accompanying press release

Rulemaking actions to incorporate the Civil Rights Restoration Act's broadened definitions of "program or activity" and "program" into Title IX regulations:

Sex Discrimination Cases & Briefs

Statements of Interest and Amicus

  • The Justice Department filed a Statement of Interest in a lawsuit brought by a transgender woman in custody, asserting that Indiana’s House Enacted Act 1569’s blanket ban on gender-affirming surgery at Indiana Department of Corrections facilities violates both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

  • The Justice Department filed an Amicus brief in support of four Medicaid-eligible Floridians, two adults and two minors, all of whom are transgender and seek medical treatment for gender dysphoria that is excluded from Medicaid coverage by a Florida administrative rule (59G-1.050(7)) and state statute (SB254).  Following a bench trial, the district court held that these exclusions violate the Medicaid statute, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, and the Equal Protection Clause, and issued a permanent injunction.  The amicus brief urged affirmance of the court’s Medicaid and Section 1557 judgments and argued that the court need not reach plaintiffs’ equal-protection claim if it invalidates the coverage exclusions on either or both statutory grounds. If the court does reach the Equal Protection claim, the brief urges remand for further factfinding regarding whether the statutory exclusion was enacted in part with a discriminatory purpose.  

  • The Justice Department filed a Statement of Interest in a lawsuit brought by a transgender youth and his parents, a medical provider, and two national membership nonprofit organizations asserting that North Carolina House Bill 808’s ban on the provision of gender-affirming care to transgender minors and the prohibition on the use of public funds to pay for such care violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

  • The Justice Department filed an Amicus brief in a lawsuit brought by four transgender minors, their parents, and a doctor and her medical practice, asserting that Indiana Senate Enrolled Act 480 (SEA 480), which prohibits certain kinds of medical care for transgender minors but not for other minors, is a classification based on sex and transgender status that is subject to and fails heightened equal-protection scrutiny.
  • The Justice Department filed a Statement of Interest in a lawsuit brought by two transgender youth and their parents, asserting that Idaho House Bill 71’s criminal ban on the provision of gender-affirming care to transgender minors violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

  • The Justice Department filed a Statement of Interest in a lawsuit brought by several transgender youth, their parents, and a health care provider, asserting that Oklahoma Senate Bill 613’s criminalization of, and ban on, the provision of gender-affirming care to transgender minors violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment

  • The Justice Department filed a Statement of Interest in a lawsuit brought by several transgender youth and their parents, asserting that Kentucky Senate Bill 150 (SB 150) violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

  • The Justice Department filed a Statement of Interest in a lawsuit brought by several transgender youth, their families, and two health care providers, asserting that Arkansas House Bill 1570’s ban on the provision of gender-affirming care to transgender minors violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

  • The Justice Department filed a Statement of Interest in a lawsuit brought by an 11-year-old transgender girl, asserting that West Virginia House Bill 3293’s prohibition on transgender girls participating on female interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams or sports that are sponsored by any public secondary school or state institution of higher education, violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Cases

Sex Discrimination Resources

Updated February 22, 2024