Transgender Athletes: What’s Next for Title IX Coordinators

As society shifts to further understand gender identity and inclusivity, transgender participation has become a pressing conversation in K12 and collegiate athletics. 

Who Title IX should serve, how participation is considered fair and equitable, and determining this eligibility is becoming an increasingly polarizing topic as transgender rights gain momentum.

Title IX professionals especially face a nuanced challenge of ensuring equal opportunity for athletes while monitoring complex legal and social landscapes.

Evolution of Laws and Regulations

Of approximately 15.3 million public high school students in the United States, about 1.8%, or 275,000, are transgender. Fewer than 15% of these students are athletes.

Since 2020, 23 states introduced legislation restricting transgender athletes’ ability to play sports according to their gender identity. The US House of Representatives passed H.R.734 to define transgender participation as a “violation of Title IX” and that “sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” This bill currently sits with the Senate and is unlikely to become law.

Other states and athletic associations have implemented policies supporting transgender participation. Policies vary in scope as some states allow athletes to compete, while others impose restrictions, hormone therapy, or surgical interventions. NCAA aligned its policy in 2022 with the Olympic Movement, resulting in a sport-by-sport analysis, some which include testosterone levels and mitigation timelines.

Proposed Rulings Under Biden

In April 2023, the Biden Administration introduced regulations on participation in athletics that would make transgender sports bans illegal. Initially to be finalized in March 2024, the ruling is still in review with the Department of Education without an updated timeline.

This rule specifies that “elementary school students would generally be able to participate on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity where considerations may be different for competitive high school and college teams.”

Implications for Title IX Professionals

As Title IX Coordinators wait for finalized federal guidance on transgender athletes, they must continue to emphasize compliance and gender equity while supporting students and following current legal and athletic frameworks.

This challenge is especially unique as professionals must navigate evolving regulations, interpret law, and address concerns from athletes, coaches, and other community stakeholders. As rulings are finalized, guidance and next steps will hopefully become more clear.

How We Can Help

For up-to-date information on all Title IX changes and how they affect you and your institution, join us for Title IX Thursdays on the first Thursday of every month.

For more information about our Title IX consulting services, including advising, hearing adjudication, and investigation, contact us at