The right to employment free from discrimination should never be up for debate. However, this week the Supreme Court of The United States heard three LGBTQ employment discrimination cases. This is the first time ever that a case involving a transgender person has gone before the Supreme Court.
Here in San Francisco we have had a long history of upholding nondiscrimination protections. We are the City that funds the nation’s first trans-specific employment program. This program exists due to the leadership, determination and fight of our local transgender and gender nonconforming communities (TGNC).
It was mostly transgender women in San Francisco, particularly transgender women of color who would not back down at the Compton’s Cafeteria riots in 1966, a time when TGNC people didn’t have access to stable employment and faced high rates of mistreatment. It is thanks to the leadership and fight of these women and many more TGNC leaders through present-day that has made San Francisco the vibrant city it is right now.
We know that employment discrimination is still a huge barrier for LGBTQ communities across the country. Transgender people in the U.S. are 4 times more likely to live in extreme poverty and earn less than $10,000 year due to discrimination. These three Supreme Court cases could affirm that it is illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression nationwide. However, if SCOTUS rules the wrong way it would leave half of all LGBTQ workers vulnerable to sanctioned discrimination an inequality. Additionally, only 21 States in the U.S. provide legal protections for the LGBTQ community, and federal law currently doesn’t prohibit discrimination in critical areas, such as public places like restaurants, or federally funded programs. That is why it is time for Congress to pass the Equality Act now.
We honor the leadership of our TGNC elders and community that have made San Francisco great by speaking up for social justice. This is a historic moment in history and we must join together to remind SCOTUS that, everyone deserves to feel safe in public spaces, no one should be denied housing for being LGBTQ, and that no one should be fired for who they are or love.
We call on SCOTUS to affirm nondiscrimination protections.