Supreme Court extends federal anti-discrimination rights to LGBTQ workers


Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images, from New York Magazine.

Sarah Carlon, International News Editor

In a major victory for the LGBTQ community, The Supreme Court announced on Monday that protections outlined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act extend to LGBTQ workers.

Title VII prevents discrimination in the workplace based on one’s race, religion, national origin, and sex. The Court majority ruled that the definition of “sex” should be applied to one’s sexual orientation and gender identity as well. 

The decision was brought down after three separate cases alleged that Title VII was violated when the defendants were fired from their jobs after revealing that they were part of the LGBTQ community. 

Gerald Bostock of Georgia was dismissed from his position as a child welfare services coordinator in 2013 for “unbecoming conduct” after joining a gay softball league. Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor in New York, was fired in 2010 for coming out as gay to a customer during a dive. Aimee Stephens, a funeral director in Michigan, was fired from her position after seven years when she told her boss she planned to present as a woman at work.

“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority’s decision.

Simmons’ Transgender and Non-Binary Collective, (TANC) is thrilled with the decision, especially after the Trump administration’s recent reversal of healthcare protestions for transgender Americans as well as the recent deaths of two Black trans women, Riah Milton and Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells.

“This was some much needed good news,” TANC told the Voice in an Instagram message. “This is a huge step in protecting LGBTQ folks across the country and will allow so many people to live as their authentic selves without fear of losing their job.”