The LGBTQ+ Supreme Court Case is Simply About Hate – Kristen Pizzo

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Photo by Jasmin Sessler

I didn’t know until a few months ago that job discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation was still legal in over half of the states in this country.

Me, a Florida transplant who grew up in my liberal California bubble, never considered the fact that some states don’t keep up with the times, that sadly, caring about people’s livelihood regardless of who they are is a “trend” that some places aren’t quite on board with yet instead of a basic act of respect.

I job shadow a career counselor and she recently spoke with me about working with special populations. “For instance, the LGBTQ population,” she said. “You may have to coach them on how to find queer-friendly employers and discuss whether or not they should disclose their orientation.”

I hope that if I do end up as a career counselor in a few years, that there will be no need for such a conversation.

The current Supreme Court case about LGBTQ+ workplace discrimination revolves around an argument over the semantics of the text of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — the legislation banning sex discrimination in the workplace. The argument is that logically, all discrimination against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is tied to sex discrimination in one way or another.

This textual argument strategy is meant to ensure impartiality in the justice system, but impartiality implies that there are two equally valid sides to the argument.

How can that be so when discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals is rooted in hate, plain and simple?

How can our government continue to entertain the idea that hate is simply a matter of a difference in opinion?

“I like Coke, you like Pepsi. I like recognizing everyone’s humanity regardless of who they are, you like deciding that some people are worth less than others. Same deal.”

That is how we treat these cases.

If we could make an argument based on basic respect, if we could step away from the text and look at the concrete, real-life impacts of these laws instead of making arbitrary arguments about the meaning of legislation written over fifty years ago, lives of LGBTQ+ people would be saved.

But to make an appeal to emotion is to be biased, and we can’t have that in the justice system, even when people’s lives are on the line.

Respecting people and giving people equal rights regardless of who they are isn’t a liberal political agenda to be debated. It’s common decency and common sense.

When will we crack down and force conservatives to grow up and stop fearing people and to stop thinking so hard about who people love or the genitalia people were born with?

We can’t depend on educating the ignorance that so often morphs into hate away; some generations are too stuck in their ways. But we need to educate anyway. We need to stop writing the LGBTQ+ community out of history books. We need to stop pretending they don’t exist as full human beings in media. We need to build empathy.

But regardless of whether or not those who discriminate against LGBTQ+ employees were exposed to positive representations of queer people, there’s no excuse for their hate.

I would like to interrogate them and ask why they believe anyone should lose their job based on who they are or who they love. I can guarantee there would be no logic in their responses, so why must our government give their argument the dignity of being handled with logic?

You just can’t rationalize hate.

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