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Gender / Sexual Orientation

Colorado Anti-Discrimination Law

Colorado follows state anti-discrimination and civil rights laws and guidance.  On May 20, 2021, Colorado H.B. 21-1108 was signed into law expanding prohibitions against discrimination. The law calls out the need to protect all regardless of “disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, or ancestry” in all places of public accommodation, including schools. 

Gender Identity

In addition, with respect to gender identity, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies’ Civil Rights Commission issued rules (3 CCR 708-1) that state “All [public] covered entities shall allow individuals the proper use of gender-segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity.  Gender-segregated facilities include but are not limited to, restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms and dormitories.”  The term “gender identity” is in turn defined by the rules as follows:  “Gender identity” means an innate sense of one’s own gender.” 

A Colorado court case in 2013 supported the right of a 6 year old transgender student in Fountain School district to use the restroom that aligned with her gender identity.

For questions regarding state anti-discrimination law and guidance, please contact:

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies
Colorado Civil Rights Division

Phone: 303-894-2997

2024 Final Regulations 

On April 19, 2024, the U.S. Department of Education released the 2024 Title IX Regulations.  The final regulations go into effect on Aug 1, 2024, and apply to complaints of sex discrimination, including alleged discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity that occurs on or after that date. The 2020 regulations remain in effect through July 31, 2024.  For more information:

Proposed Regulations on Transgender Students’ Participation in Sports

On April 6, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education released proposed changes to its Title IX Regulations on Students’ Eligibility for Athletic Teams.  During the two years of outreach to stakeholders to develop this proposed rule, the Department heard repeatedly that many schools, students, parents, and coaches face uncertainty about when and how transgender students can participate in school sports. The NPRM, if adopted as a final rule, would provide much needed clarity for students, parents, and coaches. 

Additional information on the proposed regulations includes a fact sheet.

The Department’s Proposed Title IX Regulations on Students' Eligibility for Athletics Teams were published in the Federal Register on April 13, 2023, thus beginning the 30 day public comment period.  The public comment period closed on May 15, 2023. 

The proposed regulation would be added as (b)(2), and current (b) would be redesignated as (b)(1).  Until any new regulations go into effect regarding athletics, the 2020 regulations remain in effect.  As of May 2024, the Department’s rulemaking process for a Title IX regulation related to athletics is still on-going. 

Current Federal Law

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs that receive federal funding. This prohibition very likely covers discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, as those are forms of sex discrimination. Several federal courts have said as much, as have the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice. For more information, see the following:

Federal Guidance

Title IX interpretation, as it relates to sexual orientation and gender identity, has varied with each administration. In June 2021, President Biden’s administration affirmed that Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in all education institutions that receive federal funding.  For more information, see the following:

Federal Resources

The U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR) maintains a Resource Page for LGBTQI+ Students which includes the following fact sheets and resources, as well as a number of other resources. This page is added to on an on-going basis.

Gender-Based Harassment and Bullying

Gender-based harassment is unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, gender identity, or nonconformity with sex stereotypes.  Gender-based harassment may include:

  • Acts of verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression
  • Intimidation or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping or failure to conform to perceived sex or sex-stereotypes

Such acts are considered to be gender-based harassment even if they do not involve conduct of a sexual nature because the conduct is sex-based.

Title IX prohibits sexual harassment and gender-based harassment of all students, regardless of the sex of the harasser or the target and regardless of the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the harasser or the target.

For more information on gender-based harassment, harassment, and bullying, see:

Resources From the National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments

Other Bullying Prevention and Education Resources

Colorado law also protects students from bullying. Colorado House Bill 11-1254, section 22-32-109 (1)(11)(I) defines bullying as “any written or verbal expression, or physical or electronic act or gesture, or pattern thereof, that is intended to coerce, intimidate, or cause any physical, mental, or emotional harm to any student” and states that “bullying is prohibited against any student for any reason” (page 9). For information on bullying prevention and education, see:

For questions regarding current federal guidance under Title IX, please contact:

Denver Office for Civil Rights
Region VIII Office
U.S. Department of Education

Phone: 303-844-5695

Rebekah Ottenbreit
Title IX State Coordinator
Colorado Department of Education

Phone: 303-907-9331