On June 15th, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay, lesbian and transgender workers against employment discrimination. In this landmark ruling, the Court stated that employment discrimination based on sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity. This ruling will protect millions of workers throughout the country because employment discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity is now illegal in every state.
In order to understand the historical significance of this ruling, it is important to know the history of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement and how it came to be. June is Pride Month, and as the global Black Lives Matter protests continue, community organizers have begun to draw attention to Black LGBTQIA+ activists throughout history, such as Marsha P. Johnson. Marsha P. Johnson was a Black, transgender woman whose activism had a large impact on the LGBTQIA+ community as she was a prominent figure in the Stonewall riots. In June 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, which led to a series of protests and riots led by LGBTQIA+ activists to demand rights for their community. Marsha has often been credited with “throwing the first brick which sparked the riots,” and continued to stand up to the police and lead many protests following the raid. Her activism, along with that of many other LGBTQIA+ people of color, helped spark the modern LGBTQIA+ rights movement and led to this historic Supreme Court decision.
Unfortunately, the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly LGBTQIA+ people of color, still faces high levels of housing discrimination. Currently, there is no federal law that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Although New Orleans and Shreveport have city ordinances that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, most cities throughout Louisiana do not. However, the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Title VII in the Bostock v. Clayton County case will influence fair housing rulings because the court often relies on Title VII when interpreting the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on sex, so this Supreme Court ruling will improve protections for the LGBTQIA+ community in housing as well.
If you are looking for ways to ensure the housing rights of all members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Louisiana, there are many ways to get involved. You can sign up for our action alerts, become a tester for LaFHAC to help us identify housing discrimination, or donate if you can. If you or anyone you know has experienced housing discrimination based on sex, contact LaFHAC at (877) 445-2100, (504) 596-2100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Help is free and confidential.