As we have learned so often in the past few months: what a difference a day can make.
I am still sitting with yesterday’s historic ruling from the Supreme Court that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ+ people from being fired by our employers based on our sexual orientation or gender identity. Before yesterday, it was legal to fire queer and trans people for who we are in more than half the states. Now we have legal protection from employment discrimination in every part of the country, including in the states of Alaska, Montana, and Idaho where previously there were no statewide protections.
But, that it was still a question whether we are even deserving of legal protections is a stark and sad reminder of how tenuous the rights of LGBTQ+ people truly are, and how far we still have to go. Legal protections are one important step to creating the deep and lasting culture change that is necessary to elevate the dignity, diversity, and humanity of LGBTQ+ people. And of utmost importance, SCOTUS’s decision will have real and profound impact in the daily lives of LGBTQ+ people everywhere, particularly LGBTQ+ people who are already at heightened risk for discrimination—trans and gender diverse people, BIPOC folks, parents, people living with disabilities, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
We also know that even though this is a critical win, it comes after a week of loss of two more precious members of our community, Dominique ‘Rem’mie’ Fells and Riah Milton, whose lives were taken from them because of individual and systemic racism, transphobia, and transmisogyny. A week when the President issued a rule change to remove protections from discrimination for trans folks in accessing health care and health insurance during a global pandemic. A week when, despite the growing uprisings to defund the police and change the systems that result time and time again in the murder of Black people, Rayshard Brooks was murdered.
I hope we all are taking some time to celebrate this win, and I hope that it bolsters us to commit even more deeply to the continued work for liberation for our communities. I truly hope that this ruling is one of the many signals right now that we are in the midst of a sea change, and that the future we are moving towards is one grounded in justice.
Pride Foundation will continue our work with each of you with even more determination and resolve. Because every single person deserves to live safely and openly as our full selves—at work, in our homes, in the doctor’s office, or walking down the street.
We believe in this vision with our whole hearts, and we will never stop fighting to make it a reality.
Katie Carter is Pride Foundation CEO.