Employees who are gay and transgender are now officially protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination at work “because of sex.”
On June 15, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which consisted of three individual employment cases. In each, an employer had terminated a long-time employee after that person revealed they were gay or transgender. A 6-to-3 ruling, in a court with a conservative majority, no less, granted the plaintiffs, and people all over the U.S. who identify as LGBTQ, a win.
For half a century, judges have interpreted Title VII’s wording very strictly, taking “because of sex” to mean that companies could not treat women worse than men and men worse than women. That’s it.
This has, for too long, left LGBTQ employees unprotected.
Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have fought for the expanded and, frankly, more relevant interpretation for decades. As James Esseks of the ACLU told The Washington Post: “The Supreme Court’s clarification that it’s unlawful to fire people because they’re LGBTQ is the result of decades of advocates fighting for our rights. The court has caught up to the majority of our country, which already knows that discriminating against LGBTQ people is both unfair and against the law.”
There’s more work to be done, of course, but we can still take this moment to celebrate. Here are a few tweets that captured the mood of the day—some are validating, some are bittersweet, and some are, let's say, cheeky.
10 funny, heartwarming & cutting tweets celebrating equal rights for LGBTQ employees
This landmark victory is the work of decades of LGBTQ people — led by Black trans women — fighting for our community. It belongs to our clients Aimee, Don, and another plaintiff Gerald Bostock, and countless other individuals who spoke out when they experienced discrimination.— ACLU (@ACLU) June 15, 2020
Reminder: Before today, you could still be *legally* fired just for your sexual orientation or gender identity in HALF the states.— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) June 15, 2020
That is no longer the case.
Yesterday’s landmark decision by the Supreme Court was a win in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality—but we still have work to do. Just last week, HHS announced plans to rollback health care protections for transgender Americans. And we know it won’t stop there.— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) June 16, 2020
We must keep fighting.
18 years. That’s how long my fiancee stayed in the closet at work because her parents convinced her if she came out she would be fired for it.— Sarah Sterner (@SSTeachesStuff) June 15, 2020
They may have been correct back then, but not after today. https://t.co/Vr6g1UPs96#lovewins#LGBTQRights
In honor of not being fireable for being trans or gay, today I am going to be extra trans and gay.— Emily of the State (@EmilyGorcenski) June 15, 2020
Boss: You’re fired— grant 🧔🏻 (@urdadssidepiece) June 15, 2020
IT IS EXTREMELY WEIRD TO NOT FEEL AN UNDERCURRENT OF DISAPPOINTMENT WITH SCOTUS. https://t.co/fHQFX7aTmF— Ines Bellina (@ibwrites) June 15, 2020
thrilled to wake up and discover that the panel has ruled me worthy once more— Jill Gutowitz (@jillboard) June 15, 2020
FINALLY the only thing that can ruin my career is ME— queerwolf bar mitzvah (@sallyt) June 15, 2020
Good news? In this economy? Wild. https://t.co/YEidaXU56Z— Jamie (@jlew8) June 15, 2020