Hunter College Schools
Roosevelt House welcomes four leading civil rights lawyers to discuss new strategies to protect LGBTQ rights in an era when the White House is undermining LGBTQ rights and the support of the Supreme Court is no longer a given.
Carl Charles is a staff attorney in the New York Office of Lambda Legal. He focuses his work on expanding and solidifying the rights of transgender people. Demoya Gordon is a Supervising Attorney in the Law Enforcement Bureau of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, specializing in Public Accommodations and Policing. Steven R. Shapiro is the former legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union and has served as counsel on more than 200 SCOTUS briefs. Chase Strangio, a member of the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, has been the lawyer for Chelsea Manning and part of the legal team representing Gavin Grimm at the Supreme Court. Charles Kaiser, who will be moderating this event, is the acting director of The Roosevelt House LGBTQ Policy Center at Hunter College, and the author of three books, including The Gay Metropolis, the landmark history of gay life in America, which was republished in a new, updated edition for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
In a landmark case argued before the Supreme Court on October 8th, the solicitor general argued that employers have the right to fire employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In response, LGBTQ advocates have asserted that such discrimination is prohibited by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which includes language prohibiting discrimination on the basis of “sex.” The question now before the Supreme Court is how broadly to interpret the word “sex.” The case has attracted 70 friend-of-the-court briefs, dividing states, religious orders and members of Congress. More than 200 of the nation’s largest employers are supporting the fired workers.
The panel will also examine the impact of recent rule changes by the department of Health and Human Services. The repeal of protections for LGBTQ people instituted by the Obama administration was announced on November 1. These protections were intended to ensure that no one could be denied health services on the basis of their gender or sexual orientation.