This week, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed what Lucie’s Place and its supporters already know: LGBTQ people should be allowed to work without the fear of being fired simply because of who they are or who they love. This ruling, which states that gender identity and sexual orientation are protected under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, brings us a step closer towards the goals we have laid out in our mission. Monday’s decision will be an important piece in our mission to “ensure lifelong stability” for our members.
“Securing employment is so important for Lucie’s Place members,” said Andrea Zekis, Interim Director at Lucie’s Place. “Finding, getting and keeping a job provides our young people an opportunity to save money, build confidence and personal responsibility and work towards independent living. Independence may come down to one’s ability to secure a living wage, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling demonstrates what we’ve always known, that our members should have every opportunity available to anyone else when it comes to finding valuable work, building their lives and pursuing their dreams. The ruling should serve as a message to Lucie’s Place and other LGBTQ organizations moving forward to take employment support more seriously, especially among transgender and non-binary populations, in order to reduce outcome disparities that may continue despite the ruling.”
See our Interim Executive Director Andrea Zekis talk about the ruling here.
One of our most important responsibilities at Lucie’s Place is encouraging our members to find jobs. The ruling today means that members have explicit protections, reducing the worries that an employer will fire them--or refuse to hire them--simply for living openly. Lucie’s Place has historically helped and referred members for the services they need to find and retain a job. That can be everything from resume help, mentorship, interview skills and accessing clothes for interviews.
Previous studies have shown the far majority of Arkansas support LGBTQ protections against discrimination in employment.
Though this decision is an important step forward, and a significant victory for LGBTQ rights, it does not do enough. Therefore, Lucie’s Place calls for the passage of the Equality Act, which will codify protections for LGBTQ Americans not only in employment, but also in prohibit discrimination in housing, public education, public accommodations, the jury system, federal funding, and credit. We celebrate today’s ruling, and commit ourselves to the rest of the work ahead.
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