Things That Matter

Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ+ People Protected From Workplace Discrimination

The Supreme Court has ruled that companies cannot fire people for being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Before the ruling, it was still legal for employers to fire people for being part of the LGBTQ+ community. This is a major victory for LGBTQ+ Americans and a major loss for the Trump administration.

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of LGBTQ+ employees.

In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that the LGBTQ+ community is protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are protected from discriminatory firings and treatment for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The court’s decision states that the LGBTQ+ community is protected under Title VII of the act.

“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the decision. “It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

The decision was 6-3 in favor of protecting LGBTQ+ employees.

Conservative justice Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, and Samuel A. Alito Jr all voted against protecting LGBTQ+ protections in the workplace. Justices John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer voted that the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does include LGBTQ+ people.

“There is only one word for what the court has done today: legislation. The document that the court releases is in the form of a judicial opinion interpreting a statute, but that is deceptive,” Alito wrote in the dissent. “A more brazen abuse of our authority to interpret statutes is hard to recall. The court tries to convince readers that it is merely enforcing the terms of the statute, but that is preposterous.”

The ruling protects millions of LGBTQ+ workers in states that offered no protection.

Before the ruling, employees in several states faced a constant threat of termination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The fear was greater for transgender people who had protections in fewer states than gay and lesbian workers. Justice Gorsuch did state the scope of the ruling.

“We do not purport to address bathrooms, locker rooms or anything else of the kind,” Justice Gorsuch wrote. “Whether other policies and practices might or might not qualify as unlawful discrimination or find justifications under other provisions of Title VII are questions for future cases, not these.”

The decision comes on a day that they also decided not to hear arguments in a case of qualified immunity for police.

It requires four justices to agree to allow for a case to be heard by the justices. Justice Thoms dissented the decision not to take up the case. The conservative justice claims that “qualified immunity doctrine appears to stray from the statutory text.”

Advocates want to see the qualified immunity doctrine to be revised. The doctrine currently makes it easy for lower courts to dismiss cases against police officers. Growing protests in the U.S. demanding a change in police reform after the death of George Floyd.

READ: Supreme Court Refuses Case Challenging California’s Sanctuary State Status

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Just Issued Her First Opinion In Abortion Case And Cast Doubt On Future Of Roe V. Wade

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Just Issued Her First Opinion In Abortion Case And Cast Doubt On Future Of Roe V. Wade

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

It was no secret that if the Republican Party and Donald Trump got their way with the Supreme Court, that women’s health and reproductive rights would be under attack. Well, Trump installed his new justice, Amy Coney Barrett, to the court in November and she’s just issued her first opinion in a case related to access to abortion.

Amy Coney Barrett handed a victory to the White House and Conservatives regarding abortion.

Since taking her seat on the Supreme Court in November, Justice Coney Barretts’ opinions have escaped much scrutiny. However, her latest opinion in an abortion-related case is drawing scrutiny from both the left and the right for clues of how she might rule in the future.

The decision, issued despite objection from the court’s more liberal judges, reinstates a requirement for patients to pick up the drug, mifepristone, in person. Three lower courts had blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s in-person pick-up requirement for mifepristone during the coronavirus pandemic, citing the risks of contracting COVID-19 at a doctor’s office or a hospital.

Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project, called the court’s decision “chilling” and one that “needlessly” endangers “even more people during this dark pandemic winter.”

In an interview with NPR, she added that people of color, like Black and Latinx patients, are at particular risk for health risks posed by COVID-19. Requiring them to go to a doctor’s office in person to pick up the drug threatens the health and lives of those patients, she said.

It’s the first abortion-related decision since last year’s swearing in of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose presence on the high court bench ensured a new conservative majority. Abortion-rights advocates have been fearful of what a conservative majority could do to chip away at legal protections for abortion.

On the surface, this week’s abortion ruling is fairly minor but it has many women worried.

Credit: Phil Walter / Getty Images

In its ruling, the Court didn’t release a majority opinion, which means that the case doesn’t explicitly change existing legal doctrine. And the case concerns a policy that the Biden administration could likely reverse after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

But, when you read between the lines, the case – FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – warns of a dark future for abortion rights and women’s health.

The premise of pro-abortion rights decisions like Roe v. Wade (1973) is that the Constitution provides special protection to the right to an abortion that it doesn’t provide to other elective medical procedures. Yet, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor explains in dissent, American College effectively rules that a commonly used abortion drug may be regulated more harshly than any other legal medication.

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JK Rowling Comes Out Of The Wood Work Again To Dig In Her Heels About Her Irrelevant Take On Trans Identity

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JK Rowling Comes Out Of The Wood Work Again To Dig In Her Heels About Her Irrelevant Take On Trans Identity

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JK Rowling might have written pages upon pages about education and lessons learned but she’s clearly not a quick study. Or at least taking her own advice.

The multi-millionaire author behind the beloved Harry Potter series earned the ire of fans earlier this year after speaking out against the trans community and underlining her own transphobia. Still, despite an onslaught of criticism and backlash, she’s decided to speak out once again. In a recent interview with Good Housekeeping magazine, Rowling underlined her opinions once again about the trans community.

Speaking to the magazine for its January issue, Rowling conflated cancel culture and a lack of tolerance for hate.

In the interview with Good Housekeeping, Rowling spoke of a “climate of fear” around conversations about transgender identity. Particularly when it comes to what Rowling described as “a more nuanced conversation” concerning the “huge increase” in the number of people seeking to transition.

“I’ve had a huge postbag since speaking up on this issue and more than 90 per cent of the letters and emails have been supportive,” Rowling claimed. “My correspondence have included medical staff, social workers, prison workers, workers in women’s refuges, and members of the LGBT community, including trans people.”

If Rowling’s claim causes your brow to raise it should. Particularly because detransition, or a reversal of a transgender identification or gender transition, has been shown to be more common in the earlier stages of a person’s transition, particularly before surgeries. Moreover, research analysis conducted from 2016 and 2017 found that of 3,398 trans patients who had appointments at an NHS Gender Identity Service less than one percent said that they had experienced “transitioned-related regret, or had detransitioned.”

In June, J.K. Rowling, the author who taught us as young readers the importance of love, light, and acceptance with her Harry Potter series stomped out all of the magic like a troll bursting into a dungeon. That’s right, in the midst of a pandemic and worldwide protests for racial justice, J.K. Rowling decided to use her global platform to tout her transphobic views to the 14.5 million Twitter users who follow her.

The writer has made various problematic comments about trans people in the past and her latest sound-off is confirmation that this whole time the author has been Dolores Umbridge in sheep’s clothing.

Just when you thought she couldn’t get worse, Rowling apparently decided to create a Horcrux and put a part of her soul in her newest novel: “Troubled Blood.”

In recent years, Rowling has soiled her reputation as one of the most beloved authors of all time by hawking negative views of trans people. In her latest book, she keeps it up.

Troubled Blood is Rowling’s fifth and latest book in her Cormoran Strike mystery series which she writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Non surprisingly it debuted on selves on September 15 to incensed reviews. According to a review published in the Telegraph, the book follows the disappearance of a woman who is believed to be a victim of “a transvestite serial killer.” The review underlines that the moral of the book is “never trust a man in a dress.”

Soon after the Telegraph’s review was published a Twitter storm attached to the hashtag #RIPJKRowling began. One user tweeted that Rowling had employed “deeply harmful tropes about our community. But she doesn’t care — this is deliberate. It’s gross.”

Daniel Radcliffe, the face behind the titular characters in the Harry Potter films, has stepped up in the past as the Chosen One in a fight against the currently canceled author who built his career.

Fortunately, Radcliffe joined his fellow Dumbledore’s Army alums Katie Leung (Cho Chang) and Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger in The Cursed Child) in speaking out against Rowling’s recent transphobic comments and showing solidarity with the trans community.

In June Rowling’s name became trending on Twitter after she mocked a headline about “people who menstruate.”

The author posted an article about creating equality for “people who menstruate” amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The article, which was posted by Devex, had a headline that read “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”

Addressing the article, Rowling tweeted “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

Users on Twitter were quick to slam Rowling for her ignorant tweet highlighting how her words were harmful to trans men and women but also to cisgender women who do not menstruate. As a reminder, not all cisgender women have periods: some have hysterectomies, in old age, we also go through menopause.

In response to her comments, Radcliff underlined in a letter for The Trevor Project that he wanted to speak out because of his work for the trans community.

Speaking about trans women Radcliff wrote, “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”

Radcliffe isn’t the only one who has spoken out against Rowling’s harmful words. Eddie Redmayne, the lead actor in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, also spoke out against J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans tweets.

“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” Redmayne said in a statement to Variety. “This is an ongoing process… As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”

In a tweet posted to her account, Dumezweni shared a tweet listing a series of prominent transgender women.

No doubt, Rowling’s words proved to be extremely upsetting for fans of Rowling who found her stories to be a light in their darkness.

“I decided not to kill myself because I wanted to know how Harry’s story ended,” one user wrote. “For a long time, that was all that kept me alive. Until I met my husband who helped me learn to love myself and to want to live. You just insulted him to my face. I hate you.”

Many were quick to slam Rowling, letting her know that her message of exclusionary language makes the lives of trans people more difficult.

“You have power and influence. Why would you do this? What does it achieve?” Singer-songwriter Mary Lambert tweeted. “Do you feel like more of a woman when you punch down? Are you threatened? Some trans men menstruate. Why does that affect you? Why do you want to police that?”

GLAAD also condemned Rowling’s comments and “for targeting trans people”

“JK Rowling continues to align herself with an ideology which willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans,” the organization wrote. In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people.”

No surprise, Rowling’s response to critics was just about as pathetic as any apology from her would be at this point. In a subsequent Twitter thread, she wrote that “erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.”

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