If You Build It, “They/Them” Will Come: The Misgendering of Transgender Nonbinary Athletes Is Discrimination on the Basis of Sex


  • Kelli Rodriguez Currie Seattle University




Title IX, transgender athletes, nonbinary athletes, inclusive, gender identity


This article provides necessary context to adequately engage in a discussion about transgender and nonbinary individuals, including defined terms. It then provides a brief history of Title IX, articulates the requirements for compliance with the statute, and discusses its application to transgender athletes. Next, this article provides an overview of Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the recent statutory analysis of its prohibition on employment discrimination because of sex in Bostock v. Clayton County extends that analysis to the statutory language of Title IX, and summarizes the recent interpretation by the Department of Education applying that analysis to Title IX. The article then discusses the implications of the persistent misgendering of transgender nonbinary athletes and argues that only by allowing all athletes to compete as their true gender will the inclusive goals of Title IX be realized. The article concludes that the requirements for Title IX compliance are not inclusive of transgender nonbinary athletes and contradictory to the prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex articulated by the statute itself. The article proposes several necessary changes to the language of those requirements for compliance and argues that the Department of Education must make changes in its interpretation toward more inclusive language to truly achieve the goals of Title IX.

Author Biography

Kelli Rodriguez Currie, Seattle University

Kelli Rodriguez Currie, JD, MSAL, is a lecturer at Seattle University and Seattle University School of Law. Her research interests include the student-athlete experience and collegiate athletics compliance. Kelli uses she/her pronouns.






Original Research