A group of Democrat senators urged the Biden administration to add even stronger LGBTQ and abortion mandates to its proposed Title IX rule in a public comment issued Monday.

Led by Sen. Patty Murray and signed by 18 other senators, the comment issued in the form of a Sept. 12 letter celebrates the administration’s reinterpretation of Title IX’s federal ban on sex discrimination to include “sexual orientation or gender identity” and urges it to “build on this progress.” 

“We applaud the Department for taking important steps forward,” the senators wrote, adding that the Education Department should “further strengthen protections for LGBTQIA+ students and pregnant and parenting students.”

Title IX, adopted in 1972, protects Americans from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal funding.

The senators requested that the administration “clarify the scope of prohibited discrimination” regarding LGBTQ students under Title IX.

The letter recommends the rule should ensure that “students must be housed consistent with their gender identity and specify that intentional misgendering is a form of harassment.”

The senators also urged the Education Department to move forward with a rule ensuring that sports teams must allow transgender students to play on teams “consistent with their gender identity.”

“Protecting transgender students’ rights to participate in athletic activities consistent with their gender identity in no way disadvantages their fellow students, and does not take away or undermine the protections Title IX provides for women and girls,” the letter claims. 

The letter also celebrated the department’s inclusion of abortion as a protected category but called for further enforcement. 

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“Given the changing landscape of abortion rights and efforts to harass, discriminate against, and intimidate students who exercise their reproductive rights, we request the Department provide further instructions on how schools should protect students’ privacy and records documenting students’ pregnancy status,” the letter added. 

Biden’s Title IX rule has been the subject of outcry since its proposal in June from concerned parents and religious groups who will be impacted by it.

Religious freedom and free speech advocates warn that the proposed rule change could be used to enforce mandates on hiring, bathrooms, using preferred pronouns, and dress codes. 

Monday ended the public comment period, during which citizens had the chance to submit feedback on the rule before it went into the finalization process. 

A record total of comments from concerned parents were submitted, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. 

“Allowing male[s’] entry into girls’ locker rooms, showers, and sports under the nebulous concept of ‘gender identity’ is discrimination against girls,” one commenter wrote, “a violation of [a] girl’s privacy, safety, and equal opportunity.”

“If this hits my kids’ school,” another parent commented, “we will file a lawsuit.”

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