Trump Administration Tells Supreme Court Trans Workers Not Protected by Civil Rights Law

The Trump Administration continues its attack on LGBTQ+ rights with a brief filed on Friday arguing that transgender workers are not protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The brief argues that trans people can be fired for their gender identity. It’s no surprise that the Trump Administration would take this position, they have already said that firing people based on their gender identity was legal, but this latest attack could be a huge step backwards for LGBTQ+ rights if the Supreme Court decides to establish it.

NBC News reports that the brief was “submitted in a case concerning Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who was fired from a Detroit funeral home after she informed her employer that she was beginning her gender transition.” The brief contests the use of the word “sex” and whether it applies to transgender workers. “In 1964,” the brief states, “the ordinary public meaning of ‘sex’ was biological sex. It did not encompass transgender status.” The brief also argues that transgender discrimination is not mentioned in a 1989 Supreme Court ruling that found Title VII bans sex stereotyping.

If the currently right-wing Supreme Court sides with the Trump administration, it will not only overturn the decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with Stephens, but it could also have deep ramifications for LGBTQ+ Americans as a whole. Laws banning sex-based discrimination would be interpreted to assert that sexual orientation and gender identity would not fall under sex-based discrimination. There are currently no federal laws which protect against anti LGBTQ+ discrimination, and in cases involving such discrimination, courts and agencies have used the term “sex” found in the Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination. If the Supreme Court sides with the Trump administration, it would open the door to LGBTQ+ discrimination not just in jobs, but in schools or medical offices.

The Trumps administration’s views in this brief are plainly wrong. Because anti-transgender discrimination often stems from a person transitioning from one gender to another, or from a person defying traditional gender roles and sex stereotypes, it is itself a form of sex discrimination, no matter how the Trump administration tries to warp the meaning. The Trump administration isn’t contesting the term “sex” to clear up some perceived confusion surrounding it, they simply want to define it on their terms so that they could take rights away from LGBTQ+ people, rights that the LGBTQ+ community has fought long to obtain.

Trump has claimed to be a “real friend” to the LGBTQ+ community and that his administration cares about keeping LGBTQ+ rights protected. Even someone in a deep coma could tell he was lying. Anyone who believed him is either incredibly gullible or they’re being willfully ignorant for personal gain, and I don’t know which is worse. Trump and his administration has never cared about LGBTQ+ rights, and this recent attack is proof of that, along with the laundry list of other attacks on LGBTQ+ right committed by this administration.

(Image: Barbara Alper / Getty Images)