As the U.S. Supreme Court ready to listen to the case of Aimee Stephens, who will the courtroom to contemplate for the primary time in its historical past whether or not trans individuals are shielded from employment discrimination, supporters gathered outdoors, cheering her on.
“Remember, you’re making history no matter what happens,” American actress and LGBT activist Laverne Cox informed Stephens as she arrived on the courtroom.
Meanwhile, on social media, the hashtag #RiseUpOct8 unfold, trending on Twitter with messages of help for the plaintiff. The National Center for Transgender Equality tweeted: “Today is the day. No matter what happens, remember: We will fight for you, we will fight for your loved ones, we will fight until every trans person in this country has the same opportunities as anyone else.”
Stephens, now 58, was fired from her job at a funeral residence six years in the past in 2013, simply two weeks after she informed her boss that she is transgender.
At the time, Stephens had come out to her spouse after which later to others, together with some trusted coworkers at R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, the place she had labored for practically six years.
While she informed The Guardian that most individuals have been accepting of her determination, she had been reluctant to inform her boss, Thomas Rost.
When she did come out to him in a letter, her worst fears have been confirmed. Rost fired her with a proposal of severance pay hooked up to a deal that will forestall her from searching for authorized motion for the termination.
“I couldn’t do that,” Stephens informed the newspaper. “There was too much at stake.”
Now, the 58-year-old is making historical past, showing earlier than the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
“I found it a little overwhelming when I realized that I could be in the history books,” Stephens told Vox. But, she mentioned, “somebody’s gotta do it and I’d be happy and satisfied to be that person.”
The courtroom is listening to oral arguments within the case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The case will successfully ask the Supreme Court, which has a five-justice conservative majority, if trans individuals ought to be entitled to sex-based protections below Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
If the courtroom guidelines in Stephens’ favor, it will set a brand new precedent, extending clear anti-discrimination protections to members of the trans group.
In her interview with Vox, Stephens mentioned that when she first filed her EEOC grievance, she had by no means anticipated to finish up in entrance of the Supreme Court.
“We’ve found that the wheels of justice turn slowly,” she mentioned. “But we’re hanging in there and at least now we can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Over the final week, she mentioned, messages of help flooding her social media accounts and mailbox have helped her push ahead.
“In the last week, my Facebook messenger and Instagram has all gone crazy. I’ve gotten letters from all over the country in support,” she mentioned.
“One of them was from another Aimee and it kind of gives you a feeling of solidarity. She said, ‘From one Aimee to another’,” Stephens mentioned. “I’ve been told that I’m courageous and that I’m a strong woman and lots of other things, and I hadn’t really seen myself in that way.”