Biden’s Title IX Transgender Guidelines For Public Schools Blocked By Texas Judge
US President Joe Biden during the Everytown for Gun Safety "Gun Sense University" conference in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. The annual conference gathers gun violence survivors, volunteers, and advocates to receive training on organizing efforts.
Credit: Photographer: Ken Cedeno/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that Texas did not have to follow guidance from the Biden administration which interpreted prohibitions against sex discrimination to include gender identity and sexual orientation. 

The judge ruled that Biden’s Education Department had unlawfully exceeded its authority when it issued guidance in 2021 that opened up the door for schools to be liable for discrimination if they adopted policies like limiting bathroom access on the basis of sex. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Biden administration in June 2023 to shield Texas from enforcement of the policy. 

“Nothing in the statute expressly prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or other unexpressed grounds,” U.S. District Judge for the North District of Texas Reed O’Connor wrote in a 112-page ruling. “And where Title IX allows for differentiation based on sex due to biological differences — such as intimate facilities and athletic teams — recipients may treat persons in accordance with their biological sex without regard to subjective gender identity.”

Paxton’s lawsuit came after the Education Department released a memo on June 22, 2021, saying that it “interprets Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ to encompass discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The department also said that it would “fully enforce Title IX to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in education programs” for schools that receive federal funding. This means schools could face legal challenges if they had policies in place that said transgender-identifying students would have to use the bathroom facility or play on a sports team based on sex.  

Judge O’Connor disagreed with the Education Department, saying that it was not logical to include gender identity under sex. 

“Title IX explicitly appreciates the innate biological variation between men and women that occasionally warrants differentiation — and even separation — to preserve educational opportunities and to promote respect for both sexes,” the George W. Bush appointee wrote. 


The guidance is different from the widely challenged Title IX rules unveiled in April that officially add gender identity and sexual orientation into federal education discrimination law. 

Paxton celebrated the judge’s decision, saying Biden’s guidance was dangerous. 

“Joe Biden’s unlawful effort to weaponize Title IX for his extremist agenda has been stopped in its tracks,” Paxton said in a statement on Tuesday night. “Threatening to withhold education funding by forcing states to accept ‘transgender’ policies that put women in danger was plainly illegal. Texas has prevailed on behalf of the entire Nation.”

The guidance had previously been blocked from being enforced in 20 other states where a coalition of Republican attorneys general had challenged the policy. 

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