Together with Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), Transcend the Binary filed a “friend of the court” brief in support of Aimee Stephens in her case before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2013, a Michigan funeral home fired Ms. Stephens from her job because she is a transgender woman.
What’s at stake
The case R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission could reverse longstanding precedent that transgender people are protected from employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
What the “friend of the court” brief asks SCOTUS
The amicus brief asks the Supreme Court to affirm a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that ruled Ms. Stephen’s employer violated Title VII, which prohibits sex discrimination in employment when they fired her for being transgender.
“Our brief makes it clear that federal employment law protects Aimee Stephens and other transgender people across the country who simply want the opportunity to work without fear of losing their job because of who they are,”
Andy Marra, Executive Director @ Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
We joined with 33 other transgender rights groups and allies to ask the Supreme Court to uphold the law and ensure that everyone in this country is able to maintain a job free from discrimination.
The brief advances three main arguments:
- Aimee Stephen’s abrupt firing from her job is a straightforward case of sex discrimination under Title VII. To hold otherwise would unfairly single out and exclude 1.55 million transgender people from existing employment protections enjoyed by all other workers.
- There is both medical and legal consensus that “sex” is comprised of myriad factors, including gender identity. Numerous lower court rulings affirm that transgender people have the right to work, attend school, receive health care, and obtain identity documents in accordance with their gender identity.
- The U.S. Supreme Court case Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins established the legal precedent of sex stereotyping that also applies to Ms. Stephen’s wrongful termination because she fails to conform to the core stereotype that physical anatomy at birth solely determines a person’s sex as opposed to their gender identity.
We believe that the Sixth Circuit’s ruling should be affirmed as a matter of the straightforward application of binding precedent. We also believe that the court should further define the meaning of the term “sex” in Title VII – in a manner that is inclusive of the realities and experiences of trans/gender diverse folks across the US.
“…the court should further define the meaning of the term “sex” in Title VII – in a manner that is inclusive of the realities and experiences of trans/gender diverse folks across the US.“
We look forward to hearing the Supreme Court’s proceedings this fall.
### About Transcend the Binary
We are a trans-led collective that works to create change within institutions, healthcare, through research, education and advocacy. We provide direct supportive services to trans and gender diverse folks of all ages, along with their families. Many of our services are trans-led, and include Peer Advocacy, Peer Counseling, Health education and consultations, Transition and resource planning, and more. Our services are in-person and virtual.
On September 30th, we celebrated Transgender Day of Empowerment with our partners, Gender-Identity Network Alliance (GNA), as we got to hang out with our community during their Embrace Your True Self event held at Wayne State University. Michelle Fox-Phillips, Executive Director of the GNA, reported that she was very pleased with the event, and that it stands out as one of GNA’s finest over the past 14 years of the groups’ existence. This is one of the many ways GNA supports different forms of gender identity through support programs and events. We want to thank those who attended the event, and we hope that you enjoyed the opportunity to connect with others in the community. read more…