Responses and Reactions

Effects on the LGBT+ Community

The Supreme Court’s official opinion is that it is impossible to discriminate against someone for their sexual orientation or gender identity without discriminating against that person because of their sex. This decision will have many impacts on the LGBT+ community. Employment, education, housing, and mental health are all areas that should see positive impacts from the ruling. 

In 2014, it was estimated that between 8-17 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers were denied employment or fired due to their sexuality, and this number increased to 13-47 percent for transgender employees. Queer people of color experience even higher rates of workplace discrimination[4]. Under this ruling, while it does not explicitly address sex-segregated spaces such as bathrooms, it will now make it illegal to fire a transgender person from using a bathroom that matches their gender identity. 

During the Trump administration, there has been a decrease in transgender student protection and an increase in complaints against LGBT+ workers. LGBT+ rights advocates are pushing for the Supreme Court’s decision to be applied to Title IV as well, thus prohibiting gender identity discrimination in schools. By doing this, queer youth would feel more comfortable and safe at school, thus allowing them to be more inspired to pursue higher forms of education. Obtaining a college degree would make them more employable, as all people are, and more likely to be hired. Increasing the number of employed LGBT+ people would start to establish important precedents that will affect workplace culture and the double glass ceiling.

A chart of people's comfort with transgender women being in bathrooms taken from Stones' 2017 study.

Responses and Reactions

The Supreme Court is not often out of step with popular opinion. Many Americans disagree with sexuality and gender identity-based workplace discrimination and more than 200 companies wrote statements supporting the queer employees who were involved in the cases presented to the court. 

LGBT+ rights activists celebrated the win and many believe that this ruling is more important than the 2015 decision to make gay marriage legal as almost every LGBT+ adult has or needs a job[1]. 

However, not all are receptive to the legislation passed by the Supreme Court. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. believes the decision made by the Court was an abuse of power as it is misleading the general public into thinking that the Court is simply interpreting the law but that is “preposterous"[2]. Justice Alito stated that Title VII in 1964 was written under the assumption that sex was the same as gender, thus only encompassing men and women. It did not include sexual orientation and gender identity because of the social norms of the time. If the court wanted to pass legislation that protected queer people, then it should pass a new law.

In his push back against the decision, Justice Alito stated that the ruling left many questions unanswered. He specifically cited the long-standing bathroom argument where cisgender women may feel uncomfortable with having transwomen share the same bathroom as them. This argument has been expanded to include not only bathrooms but locker rooms and other similar public areas. While Justice Alito is correct in saying that there are questions left unanswered by the ruling, the comfort level and safety of ciswomen are not a great concern. In a 2017 study, 190 online articles were studied and had the comments analyzed. This study found that cisgender men are 1.55 times more likely to be concerned with transwomen in bathrooms than cisgender women[3]. 

A question that should be asked about this ruling is how it will affect the double glass ceiling that is present for queer women within the workplace.

1. Pete Williams, “In a Landmark Case, Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ Workers are Protected from Job Discrimination,” NBC, Last modified June 15, 2020,

2. Adam Liptak, “Civil Rights Law Protects Gay and Transgender Workers, Supreme Court Rules,” New York Times, last modified June 16, 2020,

3. Rebecca J. Stones, “Which Gender is More Concerned About Transgender Women in Female Bathrooms,” Gender Issues no. 3 (2017): 1-17, accessed December 6, 2020, 10.1007/s12147-016-9181-6

4. Sharita Gruberg, “Beyond Bostock: The Future of LGBTQ Civil Rights,” American Progress, August 26 2020,

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