Connecticut: In May of 2020, the U.S. Department of Education OCR threatened the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) and six Connecticut school districts with a loss of federal funds or other enforcement actions due to a CIAC policy which allowed transgender athletes to participate on the team of their self-identified gender. The OCR’s letter followed on a complaint by three cisgender female track athletes alleging that the policy denied them athletic benefits and opportunities in violation of Title IX. OCR concluded that the policy violated Title IX by disadvantaging cisgender female athletes. On August 31, 2020, following the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision, the OCR issued a Revised Letter which clarified that “[t]he Court’s opinion in Bostock also does not affect the Department’s position that its regulations authorize single-sex teams based only on biological sex at birth – male or female – as opposed to a person’s gender identity.” OCR further clarified that Title IX differs from Title VII, which was at issue in Bostock. The policy enforcement dispute is ongoing.
Idaho: On March 30, 2020, Idaho enacted the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act which prohibited transgender females or biological males whose gender identity is female from competing on “[a]thletic teams or sports designated for [biological] females, women, or girls.” A lawsuit initiated by the American Civil Liberties Union contends that the act violates the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX. August 17, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Idaho issued an order in Hecox v. Little allowing two female athletes to intervene in defense of the act. The order also temporarily halted enforcement of the act while the lawsuit moves forward. The U.S. Department of Justice also filed a Statement of Interest in the case, in which it explained that the Equal Protection Clause does not require states to abandon their efforts to provide biological women with equal opportunity to compete in school athletics.
Florida: Adams v. Sch. Bd. of St. Johns Cty., 968 F.3d 1286 (11th Cir. 2020). The 11th Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida’s 2018 decision which held that the school board’s policy, which required students to use a restroom in conformity with their sex as indicated on their enrollment documents, violated Title IX. Adams was assigned as a female at birth and was enrolled as a female but was found to suffer from gender dysphoria and began identifying, presenting himself, and living as a boy. The court held that the restroom policy was administered arbitrarily and subjected Adams to unfavorable treatment simply because he defied gender stereotypes. This decision was issued shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bostock decision, and the 11th Circuit materialized Justice Alito’s prediction when it held that with “Bostock’s guidance, we conclude that Title IX, like Title VII, prohibits discrimination against a person because he is transgender, because this constitutes discrimination based on sex.”
Virginia: Grimm v. Gloucester Cty. Sch. Bd., 972 F.3d 586 (4th Cir. 2020). The Fourth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia’s 2019 decision which granted a transgender former student an injunction, requiring the school district to amend his student records to reflect his male gender identity, as it violated Title IX. The court also granted the former student’s motion for summary judgement, because the school board’s policy prohibiting him from using the boys’ bathroom and locker room when he was a high school student violated both the Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause. The court also was guided in its decision by the Supreme Court’s interpretation of “sex” in Title VII in Bostock.
Wisconsin: Doe v. Madison Metro. Sch. Dist., No. 20-CV-454 (Wis. Cir. Ct. 2020). The Circuit Court for Dane County, Wisconsin, granted a request to bar Madison School District from enforcing its guidance for staff to obtain a student’s permission to notify or talk about a child’s gender transition with parents. The guidance was aimed at protecting transgender and nonbinary students. The court found that the guidance allowed or required the “District’s staff to conceal information in response or answer untruthfully in response to any question that parents ask about their child at school, including information about the names and pronouns used to address their child at school.” The court noted that the injunction did not create an affirmative duty for staff to disclose such information.