My name is Jamila Culcleasure, and I am a security officer and SEIU Local 6 member in Seattle, Washington. In my profession, males outnumber females 4 to 1. My female coworkers and I often faced homophobic slurs, derogatory taunts, and bullying on the job. That’s why last year the story of my experiences was submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court as they decided whether civil rights law protects people from being discriminated against because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender – or if someone thinks they are, whether or not that perception is accurate.
Today the Court ruled in our favor.
This is a tremendous moment for legal equality. The Supreme Court has ruled that companies cannot discriminate against LGBTQ people in the workplace. This historic decision says that LGBTQ people are, and should be, protected from discrimination under federal sex discrimination law.
But our work is not over.
Our nation still has critical gaps in our federal non-discrimination laws for LGBTQ people, despite this ruling. While LGBTQ people now have legal protection from discrimination at work, it is still legal under federal law for stores, restaurants and hotels to discriminate against LGBTQ people; for federally funded programs, including hospitals, colleges, and adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people; and to discriminate against transgender people in restrooms.
My SEIU brothers and sisters will never stop fighting to protect workers from discrimination based on gender, sexual preference, or gender identity. We will continue to fight for union contracts and state & federal laws that protect working people in areas where the system currently fails them- whether that means fighting for livable wages, safe work environments, anti-racism measures, or additional protections for LGBTQ workers.