NC LGBTQ Leader on Supreme Court Ruling: ‘I Was Nothing Short of Floored’

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By Kendra R. Johnson

June 15, 2020

The leader of Equality NC says the Supreme Court got it right, but there’s much work to be done still in North Carolina. 

When I saw the United States Supreme Court rule in favor of workplace protections for LGBTQ folks on Monday morning, I was nothing short of floored.

For months — even years — now we’ve been berated with horrible news cycles perpetuated by the actions of an unfit president who has aligned himself with white supremacy. We’ve become so used to being disappointed that victory can almost feel disorienting.

But, please be assured, this ruling by the Supreme Court is nothing short of a hard-fought victory for our communities. In this moment, it’s important for us to uplift the activists, lawyers and legal experts who helped us achieve this win. But even more importantly, we need to remember the countless LGBTQ folks who have lost their jobs for living their truth — or had to leave their identities at the door in order to make a living. 

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For decades, LGBTQ people have fought to secure basic protections from discrimination within every arena of their lives. The Court’s decision will directly impact millions of people across the country and allow them to both live authentically in the workplace and care for their families with respect and dignity. But it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to confronting the real injustices in this country.

HB 142 (the repeal of HB2) is still on the books in this state. There are also still shocking and critical gaps in our nondiscrimination laws, particularly in housing, public places, healthcare, federal programs and more. Even more, we are still facing an epidemic of violence against Black and Brown folks in this country, and our transgender brothers, sisters and siblings all too often bear the brunt of this brutality.

On top of this, on Friday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a rule interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that removes clear protections from healthcare discrimination against LGBTQ people. 

While it is unclear how Monday’s Supreme Court ruling will affect Friday’s rule, it is clear that the intent is to open the door for rampant discrimination against transgender people at the hands of healthcare providers and health insurance companies.

While we should certainly celebrate today’s win, there is still so much work to be done. 

For weeks now, people around the world have been in the streets protesting against racialized violence and systems of oppression that are enmeshed into the fabric of this nation. 

Through moments such as this Supreme Court ruling and Friday’s 1557 rule, it is so important that we recognize how these things are all interconnected. 

We are all fighting for the same world — one where all marginalized folks, Black, Brown, undocumented, LGBTQ, those experiencing incarceration, homelessness and more — are afforded the same opportunities in this world as those holding the most privilege.

Where diseases like COVID-19 don’t disproportionately ravage communities of color because they’ve been shut out of the healthcare system. 

Where we can all walk down the street living our truth and not have to worry about threats of policing or violence.

Equality North Carolina will continue to fight for this world, but we can’t win this war without your support. 

Congratulations to you and yours — today’s victory is for all of us.


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