FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 30, 2019
Dylan Waguespack, Board President, Louisiana Trans Advocates
SarahJane Guidry, Executive Director, Forum for Equality
AUGUST 30, 2019 — Attorney General Jeff Landry filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Aug 23 asking the court to rule against three individuals who had been fired for being LGBTQ. The three cases include the first transgender civil rights case to be heard by the high court.
“Once again, Jeff Landry has shown that he is out-of-touch with the majority of Louisianans who support the idea no one should be fired because of who they are,” says SarahJane Guidry, Executive Director of Forum for Equality. “This is a cruel, unnecessary move that does nothing to strengthen our state’s economy and grow our workforce. If President Trump and Jeff Landry get their way at the Supreme Court, it will give the Trump administration the license to take even more dangerous actions against transgender people, including denying health care or kicking people out of their homes. It would put kids and families at risk.”
The employees in these cases, including ACLU clients Aimee Stephens who was fired for being transgender and Don Zarda who was fired for being gay, have argued that discrimination against LGBTQ people is unlawful sex discrimination. A number of federal appeals courts have said that the Civil Rights Act and other federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination apply to LGBTQ people, as have dozens of state and district courts.
Advocates say that a victory in these cases would be just one step towards achieving comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community nationwide. In Louisiana, the legislature has failed to pass these protections, which have been introduced for debate for nearly 30 years.
“With the Trump Administration’s relentless attacks on LGBTQ equality, the need to pass comprehensive protections for LGBTQ people statewide is greater than ever,” said Dylan Waguespack, Board President of Louisiana Trans Advocates. “Today marks the one-year anniversary of the still unsolved murder of Vontashia Bell, an 18 year old transgender woman in Shreveport. Louisiana is home to 1 in 10 trans victims of murder in recent years, despite our state only accounting for 1 percent of the US population. The incredible barriers that transgender people face in accessing safe housing, employment, health care, and education in our state, alongside the increasingly dangerous national rhetoric fueling hatred for our community, speaks to a clear need for government intervention to provide for our safety and equal opportunity. Lives are on the line.”
The cases will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on October 8.