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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Education on Wednesday announced that protections outlined under Title IX extend to gay and transgender students, a departure from the Trump administration's interpretation of the federal civil rights law.

Why it matters: The decision comes in light of the Supreme Court's ruling last year affirming that gay and transgender people are protected under the Civil Rights Act. It comes during a Biden administration review of Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits sex-based discrimination at schools that receive federal funding.

What they're saying: "Students cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told the New York Times.

  • "We need to make sure we are supporting all students in our schools," he added.

The big picture: President Biden signed an executive order in March directing the Education Department to review Title IX and revise several controversial provisions put in place by the Trump administration, as part of a broader effort to reverse such laws throughout the federal agencies.

  • The new stance on the law is the opposite of the Trump administration's position, which held that the law "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity," an Education Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News in 2018.
  • The Trump administration issued a memo during its last weeks that stated LGBTQ students were not covered by Title IX.

The department’s Office of Civil Rights will now open investigations into allegations of people being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Between the lines: It is unclear how the new interpretation will impact legislative efforts by Republicans aimed at transgender youth, including legislation that prohibits transgender girls from competing on sports teams that do not match the gender they were assigned at birth.

What to watch: Cardona, who is in the process of reviewing the law, told the Times, "We are in the process now of synthesizing that information as we go to the next steps of actually developing our rules."

  • He did not specify when the review process would end, but added that the department is "going to move as quickly as possible."

Go deeper

Jun 15, 2021 - World

Hungary passes law banning LGBTQ content for minors

Pride parade in Hungary in 2019. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images

Hungarian lawmakers on Tuesday passed legislation that bans sharing content with minors that features gay characters or any sort of support for the LGBTQ community, AP reports.

The big picture: The ban is part of a law that looks to increase sentences for pedophilia. Critics say the ruling Fidesz party is wrongly conflating LGBTQ people with sex crimes against minors and that the bill will reinforce anti-LGBTQ prejudices.

House panel to investigate Trump-era DOJ data seizures

Photo: James Devaney via Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee will launch a formal probe into the Trump-era Justice Department's seizure of data from devices belonging to members of Congress, their aides, journalists and then-White House counsel, panel chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though it's so far unclear if the cases are related, they raise "serious constitutional and separation of power concerns," Nadler said in a statement.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

An underwater view of swimmers including Team USA's Caeleb Dressel (R) in the final of the Olympic Tokyo Games men's 100m freestyle on July 29. Photo: François-Xavier Marit/AFP via Getty Images

There's been plenty of Olympics drama on day six of the Tokyo Games Thursday — notably China's women's swimming team beating the U.S. and Australia in the record-setting 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

The big picture: Katie Ledecky helped the U.S. win silver, which also beat the previous world record smashed by China's team. Team USA grabbed two more swimming gold medals, when Caeleb Dressel won the men's 100m freestyle and Bobby Finke triumphed in the first men's Olympic 800m freestyle.