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Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Ctr lends support

Community center joins transgender discrimination suit


Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center has joined Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) and 32 other LGBT organizations in filing a "friend of the court" brief in support of Aimee Stephens in her case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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. 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.

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.

"Transgender Pennsylvanians deserve to access employment based on job qualifications," said Adrian Shanker, executive director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. "Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center joined Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund's amicus brief because it is critical that we protect the guidances that EEOC and some states, including Pennsylvania, have adopted, which include gender identity within their definition of sex discrimination."

"This is a critical step to ensure that transgender people like me are protected in employment," said Oliver Reilly, Development Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. "Too often, trans people experience discrimination that makes it hard to find meaningful jobs and to feel safe to be who we are where we work. Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center will continue to advocate for equal employment for trans people in the Lehigh Valley."

Amici joining Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund's brief include APIENC (API Equality - Northern California); Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center; Brave Space Alliance; Callen-Lorde Community Health Center; Compass LGBTQ Community Center; Fairness Campaign; FORGE, Inc.; Gender Justice League; GMHC; Hudson Pride Center; Indiana Legal Services, Inc.; Joan Watke Stacy, P.C., L.L.O; Lavender Rights Project; LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland; Los Angeles LGBT Center; Ministries Beyond Welcome; OutCenter of Southwest Michigan; San Diego Pride; Stowell & Friedman, Ltd.; The LOFT LGBT Community Services Center; The TransLatin@ Coalition; Trans Advocacy in Rural Places; Trans Pride Initiative; Transcend Legal; Transcend the Binary; TransFamily Support Services; Transgender Children's Legal Defense Fund; Transgender Education Network of Texas; TransOhio; TransVisible Montana; Tranzmission; True Colors, Inc.; and U.T.O.P.I.A. SEATTLE.

The brief is available on the U.S. Supreme Court website