Policy & Legislation

What Does the U.S. Supreme Court Decision Mean for Trans Folks?

July 1, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declared that discrimination at work because of gender identity or sexual orientation is discrimination “because of . . . sex.” How courts interpret those words – “because of sex” – directly impacts the everyday lives of trans and non-binary individuals. Come learn about the Supreme Court cases that gay and trans plaintiffs won, what their victory means for trans and non-binary employees, and how this development can spur positive change in schools, health care, and more.

Shelley is a trans human, activist, and advocate, and the Strategic Project Coordinator for FORGE. Shelley has worked actively in the LGBTQI+ community for over 25 years and began to focus their work on advocacy for transgender and non-binary folx nearly two decades ago. Their background is as a civil rights lawyer. Shelley continually aims to contribute to improving quality of life for trans and non-binary individuals and increasing our inclusion in society. Shelley presently assists survivors of violence through individual advocacy and peer support, as well as policy development and public education.

PACT NOW = Preventing and Assisting with COVID-19 among Trans and Non-binary Wisconsinites. PACT NOW is a partnership between FORGE and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Inclusion Health Clinic.

This project is funded by the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin.


Shelley’s introduction 0:00
Three Supreme Court cases 6:11
Case 1: Aimee Stephens 8:19
Defining “sex” discrimination 11:05
Bostock & Altitude Express cases 11:40
Lawyers involved in Aimee’s case 12:20
Arguments presented in Aimee’s case 17:14

Why are the cases important? 22:39
Employment discrimination statistics (true or false?) 28:59
Text of Title VII 31:15
Discrimination based on sex stereotypes 33:17
Bostock decision 36:10
What does “sex” mean? 38:57
Examples of discrimination 43:01
Workplace harassment is covered by the Bostock decision 44:15

All genders can be impacted 45:45
Sources of harassment/discrimination 47:31
Examples of repeated events (harassment) 48:34
How can employers prevent/eliminate discrimination? 51:01
Workplaces covered by Bostock decision 52:26
Ways to cover gaps in protections 53:54
State and local laws 54:56

Q&A: 57:00
What if religion is used to discriminate? 57:34
Access to healthcare/discrimination in health care 1:00:32
How is “legal” discrimination defined? 1:10:39

Closing: 1:12:31