The Supreme Court and LGBTQIA+ Job Discrimination

You may have heard about the United States Supreme Court hearing oral arguments this past couple of weeks. These arguments were held to consider whether a part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination for LGBTQIA+ people. Specifically, Title VII bans discrimination based on sex, and some lower courts have recently ruled that it also applies to sexual orientation and gender identity. However, the Trump administration and some religious groups believe it does not apply. This is not surprising, as the Trump administration rescinded some protections for the LGBTQIA+ community. The two cases that the court is considering are about sexual orientation and gender identity.

The way the court rules is detrimental to our society because it will protect those who do not fit heteronormative and patriarchal standards in the workplace. The LGBTQIA+ community makes up approximately eight million workers. Many in the community worry that they might be fired or harassed by their peers or employers because of their identities, which would be perfectly legal if the court rules so. This community deserves the same rights and respect that cisgender and heterosexual people receive in the workplace environment, and in general. Someone should not get fired or reprimanded because of the way that they identify or who they choose to love. People should be allowed to be themselves openly and freely. 

Some might think that they don't have the privilege of being born straight and cisgender or that this type of discrimination never happens. However, 9% of the LGBTQIA+ are unemployed compared to the 5% non-LBGTQIA+. Moreover, 15% of the community does not have insurance, 27% are food insecure and 25% make less than $24,000 per year. All of those compared to heterosexual people are higher percentages. I firmly believe that if the court decides to rule with the lower courts, many of these issues will begin to repair themselves. While many of these issues might have an underlying cause as well, I feel like this might also help.

While this is an LGBTQIA+ issue, if the court decides to rule that gender and sex are protected under the Civil Rights Amendment of 1964, it will hopefully help future legislation get passed, such as the Equal Rights Amendment. With this ruling, I feel like the courts and others might try to push women into the conversation, and those who might be transitioning to female might fight for more protections. So who knows, if the Supreme Court decides to rule with the lower courts, Virginia might not have to be the last state to pass the Equal Rights Amendment for it to be put into our Constitution. 

My advice to all the allies out there is to support your LGBTQIA+ friends, spread awareness about this issue and advocate for this issue. The community needs all the support they can get right now, as their existence is being questioned when it never should have been up for debate in the first place.


Image credit: Elyssa Fahndrich