Yesterday (June 15), a conservative Supreme Court ruled that sexual orinetation and gender identiy is now included under Title VII, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin.
Previously, the LGBTQ+ community was not covered, meaning in over 30 states someone could be fired from their job because of their identity. Title VII is also known as the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Actress Laverne Cox spoke out about the ruling yesterday to The Hollywood Reporter, “We were really bracing ourselves for disappointment. We were bracing for a loss. Obviously because of the conservative nature of the court, I am in shock, honestly. I cried a few times thinking about it today.”
Cox also mentioned Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who helped bring the case to the Supreme Court after she was fired for her gender identity.
“I just think about [plaintiff] Aimee Stephens who I had the honor of meeting on Oct. 8 last year in front of the Supreme Court. I got to stand beside her. She made history. I think about [plaintiff] Gerald Bostock who I did get to meet last year and then of course [plaintiff] Don Zarda who passed away in 2014 and didn’t live to see this. These courageous Americans stood up against injustice and I am so immensely grateful to them.”
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In May, Stephens passed away at 59 due to complications from kidney failure.
The Orange Is the New Black actress pointed out the significance of the ruling during LGBT Pride Month.
“The Supreme Court term ends in June. It just sort of happens that a lot of their big cases come in June and June is Pride Month,” Cox said.
“I remember when marriage equality became the law of the land [in June of 2015], I was in San Francisco and my wax figure at Madame Tussauds was being unveiled. This morning I was here in my home because everybody is at home. I was on this couch when I heard the news. It’s huge. It’s a win for us and for our whole country. It’s a win for America.”
LGBT Pride Month began 51 years ago on June 28, 1969, when a series of spontaneous demonstrations and riots erupted following a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The burst of fury was catalyzed by years of oppression and violence against the LGBT community by police. The day is also known as Christopher Street Liberation Day.
Stonewall was initiated by and included a number of people of color, including a Black transgender woman named Marsha P. Johnson. According to historians, when police raided Stonewall Inn, Johnson threw a shot glass into a Stonewall mirror and said, “I got my civil rights!"
(Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Center for Reproductive Rights)
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