Today, the Supreme Court begins a much-anticipated showdown over LGBTQ rights — namely, whether it’s legal to fire someone for being LGBTQ+. One of the cases brings the issue of transgender rights to the Supreme Court for the first time in history.
Aimee Stephens, the plaintiff in the case, was working as a funeral director in Michigan when she came out as trans in 2013. She was fired shortly after informing her employer about her transition. Stephens filed a complaint with the EEOC claiming that she was discriminated against. Now, her case has made its way to the highest court in the land.
The ACLU will represent Stephens in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case will clarify whether trans people are entitled to employment protections under the Civil Rights Act. As such, it will impact millions of LGBTQ+ people across the country.
“In doing this, I’ve realized there’s a lot more people out there in my situation and they really don’t know where to go or what to do,” Stephens said in an ACLU video on Monday.
Stephens told Vox that she sees today’s case as the beginning of a long fight for trans rights, regardless of the outcome.
“There’s been people that say, you know, ‘I hope we don’t lose,’ or whatever, but the fact that we’re able to bring it forth and hear the case presented is a victory already,” she told the outlet. “Regardless of whether it’s a favorable decision or not, we still have a lot of work to do.”
She added that she’s happy to be one face of the struggle.
“I found it a little overwhelming when I realized that I could be in the history books, but somebody’s gotta do it, and I’d be happy and satisfied to be that person.”
The Supreme Court will also consider Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda and Bostock v. Clayton County about whether discrimination is legal for queer workers.