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We will always fight for all those who are victimized or oppressed for simply being who they are.

Janet Sabel
Attorney-in-Chief
Chief Executive Officer

The Supreme Court has agreed to take on three cases that will shape the future of gay and transgender rights in this country. In each of the three cases, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an employee claims that they were fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

While New York City and State have strong protections in place for LGBTQ+ individuals, the law at issue is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the federal law which prohibits employment discrimination. Title VII does not explicitly prohibit anti-gay or anti-trans discrimination, but does ban discrimination based on sex. Other cities and states across the country do not have the same anti-discrimination laws as New York. Thus, if the federal law’s ban on sex discrimination is interpreted to include a ban on discrimination because of an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, it could ensure these essential protections for LGBTQ+ people everywhere. That is why we have partnered with Goodwin Procter LLP to file an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court on these crucial cases.

The Legal Aid Society has long fought for the rights of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers. Our advocacy has helped secure healthcare for trans youth, protect vulnerable individuals living with HIV/AIDs, and defend homeless and runaway LGBTQ+ youth. Our staff understands the unique challenges these groups face, and we are always prepared to give them a voice.

Our brief demonstrates through the lived experiences of our clients that anti-trans and anti-gay discrimination are rooted in sex stereotyping. The bullying and harassment that our clients face comes from their failure to conform to the traditional stereotypes of the sex that was assigned to them at birth. Because the Supreme Court has already held that discriminating against someone for failing to conform to a sex stereotype is prohibited by Title VII, we argue that discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation is prohibited by Title VII.