AG Coleman sues over “gender identity” inclusion in updated Title IX sex discrimination definition

Published 4:17 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

Attorney General Russell Coleman is suing the U.S. Department of Education over updated Title IX definitions including gender identity.

The new Title IX regulations state that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Under the final regulations, educational institutions that bar students from participating in education programs or activities consistent with their gender identity would be in violation of Title IX.

Sexual harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics would also be prohibited under the rule.

Title IX applies to any education programs or activities receiving federal money. The new regulations will take effect August 1, 2024, unless the courts intervene.

In the suit, Coleman and other attorney generals argue that the new definition would allow transgender men and women to enter locker rooms, bathrooms and sports teams designated for the opposite biological sex.

“The Biden Administration’s new rule would rip away 50 years of Title IX’s protections for women and put entire generations of young girls at risk,” Coleman said.

“It’s wrong, and we are joining our colleagues in Tennessee to lead this fight for our daughters, granddaughters, nieces and all the women of our Commonwealth.”

Coleman and Tennesee Attorney General Jonathan Skremetti are joined by attorney generals from Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia in the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

In the complaint, the attorney generals argue that historically, discrimination based on sex has referred to biological sex, not gender identity. Title IX rules have treated sex as binary, and have allowed institutions to have separate living facilities for different biological sexes.

Fairness Campaign Executive Director Chris Hartman said they oppose Coleman’s move.

“It’s deeply disappointing that Attorney General Coleman would lead, much less participate in, this discriminatory action,” Hartman said. “The Supreme Court has been clear — LGBTQ people deserve dignity, respect and protection from workplace discrimination.”

Schools that don’t follow the new rules risk lowing federal funding, including access to Free and Reduced Lunch Programs and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Grants.

This is despite state laws like Kentucky’s Senate Bill 150 and Senate Bill 83, passed in 2023 and 2022, respectively.

Senate Bill 83 banned transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports. Senate Bill 150 covered a wide swatch of issues relating to LGBTQ+ students, including:

  • banning puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender-altering surgeries for minors;
  • allowing school staff and students to willfully not use the preferred pronouns of nonbinary or transgender students;
  • prohibiting students from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity if it does correspond with their biological sex; and
  • requiring parents to be notified about their students gender expression, unless previous conduct causes concerns of abuse or neglect.

Gov. Andy Beshear said he still needs to read the lawsuit, but hopes Coleman is addressing this without “fear mongering” or attacks.

“We’re spending a lot of time with nasty rhetoric towards other children of God,” Beshear said. “Our LGBTQ+ population, our kids and our friends and our neighbors, they deserve dignity and inclusion.”