Despite objections from LGBT advocates, UIL’s longstanding informal policy is set to become official August 1 — when it takes effect as an amendment to the league’s constitution.
The amendment, initially approved by UIL’s Legislative Council last year, wasoverwhelmingly ratified by representatives from member districts in February.
However, LGBT advocates hoped officials at the University of Texas at Austin, which oversees UIL, would veto the amendment since it appears to conflict with the school’s policy against discrimination based on gender identity.
UT-Austin officials confirmed they were reviewing the proposed UIL amendment in April, but university spokesman J.B. Bird indicated this month they have no plans to halt its implementation because underlying legal questions about accommodations for trans students remain unsettled.
Bird noted that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently filed suit against the Obama administration over federal guidance saying public schools must allow trans students to use restrooms and other facilities “consistent with their gender identity.”
“I think that’s definitely causing the university to look very carefully at what’s happening around us … since we’re a state agency, and we have the state pursuing these actions ” Bird said.
Paul Castillo, a Dallas-based staff attorney for the LGBT civil rights group Lambda Legal, said that by allowing the UIL amendment to take effect, the university is violating Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs.
The U.S. Department of Education has repeatedly said Title IX protects trans students.
“They are violating Title IX by sitting on their hands and waiting for litigation to play itself out,” Castillo said of UT. “They’re putting their own funds at risk, but beyond that, as a university system, they should take a stand.”
See here, here, here, and here for the background. All that is needed here is for UT, and by extension the UIL, the follow the guidelines of the NCAA and International Olympic Committee, and thus not violate Title IX. Clearly, we are going to have to do this the hard way.