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The Trevor Project, Family Equality, and PFLAG National File Supreme Court Brief in LGBTQ Employment Discrimination Cases

BY: Kinzi Sparks
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The organizations partnered to submit an Amicus Curiae Brief in cases that could take away federal protections for transgender and gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Today Family Equality, The Trevor Project, and PFLAG National submitted an Amicus Brief in support of employees in three critically-important LGBTQ employment discrimination cases that will be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2019-2020 term. The employers in these cases are asking the Supreme Court to rule that it is legal under federal law to fire workers because they are LGBTQ — a decision that would be a devastating roll-back of federal civil rights protections for transgender and gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans, and would run counter to federal law established in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“The case made in our brief, and supported by stories of real-life, everyday discrimination experienced by our families, is simple: anti-LGBTQ discrimination is discrimination based on sex and is, therefore, prohibited by Title VII,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer of Family Equality. “As we explain in our brief, discrimination against LGBTQ individuals is based on dominant social expectations about how men and women are supposed to look, act, and carry themselves, and about who they are supposed to love. It is impossible to separate discrimination based on sex from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and the Court should not try to do so. Family Equality calls on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of the employees in these cases, and uphold the existing protections against sex discrimination afforded by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

“The Trevor Project was proud to stand with PFLAG National and the Family Equality in speaking up for youth and families who would be devastated by a negative ruling by the Supreme Court rolling back workplace protections for LGBTQ Americans,” said Casey Pick, Senior Fellow for Advocacy & Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “As the world’s largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth, we hear every day from youth in crisis who suffer from discrimination and harassment. The stories they tell us make it clear that the discrimination they suffer in the workplace is often based on their sex and gender stereotypes that have been rightly rejected under Title VII for decades. We hope that the Supreme Court will hear the voices of these young people and recognize, as have many lower courts, that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is sex discrimination, plain and simple.”

“For me, participating in this amicus brief for the Supreme Court was professional and personal,” said Diego M. Sanchez, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Partnerships for PFLAG National. “In my professional role with PFLAG National, I was proud to represent our hundreds of thousands of PFLAG families across the country. As an openly Latinx transman, workplace discrimination deeply and directly affected my own family and me, when after disclosing that I was transgender on the job, I was told by the EVP of Human Resources, ‘We can’t have people like you, transgender people, working here.’ That I had just created the company’s award-winning fully inclusive Global Diversity Plan added insult to injury. Hopefully, sharing the impact of that painful experience will result in the Supreme Court justices affirming what we know: That sex discrimination is prohibited by law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including acting against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. We are proud to have our voices included in this amicus brief.”

The Trevor Project, Family Equality, and PFLAG National were represented by pro bono counsel from Wiley Rein, including Richard W. Smith and Douglas C. Dreier.

Read the brief.

ABOUT FAMILY EQUALITY

Family Equality advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality believes every LGBTQ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at familyequality.org.

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT

ABOUT PFLAG

PFLAG is the nation’s first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies. With over 400 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas across America, PFLAG is committed to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed. To learn more, visit pflag.org, like us on Facebook (/pflag), or follow us on Twitter (@pflag) or Instagram.

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