The Trump Administration is asking the Supreme Court to rule that federal law offers no protection to transgender workers from discrimination because of their gender identity. This would allow employers the right to fire a person for being transgender. According to a brief released by the Justice Department last Friday, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 only protects workers from discrimination based on their “biological sex”.
The filing states that “Title VII does not prohibit discrimination against transgender persons based on their transgender status. It simply does not speak to discrimination because of an individual’s gender identity or a disconnect between an individual’s gender identity and the individual’s sex.”
Although this is not the first time the administration has taken a similar stance on LGBTQ rights, the court filing is asking the nations highest court to establish a federal case law and create a dangerous legal precedent that will be a major setback for LGBTQ rights nationwide.
The brief was filed in regards to the lawsuit R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in which a transgender woman was fired after she transitioned. In the suit Aimee Stephens presented as a man in 2007, when she started her job at R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan. She was fired by owner Thomas Rost six years later after she had announced plans to transition to a woman. A previous decision at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled that Stephens’ firing was discriminatory. In its decision the court wrote, “the unrefuted facts show that the Funeral Home fired Stephens because she refused to abide by her employer’s stereotypical conception of her sex.”
This is just one of three cases the Supreme Court has agreed to hear, along with two consolidated cases on gay rights, Bostock v. Clayton County and Zarda v. Altitude Express. Both of these present the issue of whether discrimination against LGBTQ workers is a form of sex discrimination.