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Statement On Landmark SCOTUS Decision on Title VII


WASHINGTON, DC — In response to the Supreme Court decision affirming that employer discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, released the following statement:

“This week has brought a mix of anger and hope for Black LGBTQ and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people. On Friday, the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre, the Trump administration eliminated a rule protecting transgender people’s access to healthcare, and this morning, the Supreme Court ruled that employer discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited by Title VII. Non-discrimination protections providing economic security for Black queer and transgender people are critically important.  The decision affirms the belief that civil rights should be enjoyed by everyone and that LGBTQ/SGL people are, and should be, protected from workplace discrimiantion under federal law. This is not only a victory for our community but for our country.  

“Black queer and transgender people understand the necessity of federal protections more than most. We predominantly live in Black communities, many of which are in the South, where most states lack protection from discrimination in both healthcare and employment. This morning’s ruling gives hope to the many Black queer and transgender people in the South, and in small rural and isolated communities, who have been shut out of employment opportunities because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The ruling is significant and the Trump administration’s continued attacks on our communities and the recent murders of Dominique (Ree’mie) Fells and Riah Milton are sobering reminders of how much work there is left to do.

“Even after today’s decision, discrimination against LBGTQ/SGL people is still permissible in stores, restaurants, and a wide range of public accommodations. This, in addition to the de facto discrimiantion too many Black people still experience based on race and anti-Blackness alone.  In the middle of our current health crisis, it’s scary to think that people could be denied the medical care they need when they need it. LGBTQ/SGL Americans live with the fear of discrimination in health care even in the best of times, and that’s why we need to make sure no American faces discrimination or is denied services simply because of who they are. We need Congress to fully protect LGBTQ/GL people from discrimination and pass full federal non-discrimination protections through the Equality Act. Until our laws remedy systemic racism and inequality, and our culture catches up to those laws, our movement’s pursuit of LGBTQ/SGL equality is far from done.

“After we celebrate today’s decision let’s continue the important work that remains to be done to dismantle legal and cultural systems of racism, anti-Blackness, homophobia, transphobia, bi-phobia, and other forms of stigma and bias. It’s now up to Congress to do their part and pass the Equality Act, which fully protects LGBTQ/SGL people from the discrimiation that is still permissible in stores, restaurants, and a range of other public spaces. Call your federal elected officials to ensure they fill the remaining gaps in federal non-discrimiantion protections for all Americans.”  

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.