Christine is a Babe Babe Babe who makes their way around the globe and continues to find a home, time and again, at Bon Bon Bon between flights. Lucky us! The latest trip away was a quick one. We asked Christine to chronicle that experience in order to demonstrate the impact of the recent Supreme Court Ruling __ Gay and Transgender Rights to our team, community and customers. We are thrilled our opportunities to work with and within in a community of diversity is further protected by the law, and we encourage you to read on to understand why we're celebrating!
“We’re sorry but this is just not a good fit. We’ll send your termination agreement at the end of this meeting.”
That was how I was told that I was being fired. As I sat and tried to figure out what it was that was not fitting, I thought back to the last conversation I had with my supervisors. In that conversation, I had come out as queer and non-binary while asking about their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
That conversation seemed productive. During my onboarding process, I was asked what my pronouns are. So, when I was fired immediately after coming out, it came as a complete shock. This was not supposed to happen at a socially progressive place.
I was reeling. I have known for a long time that I am not straight, but it’s been in more recent years that I have more fully come to understand that I do not identify as a woman. When it came to my employment in the past, I wouldn’t say that I was closeted but neither was I out and proud. When I came to this position, I believed that this time it could be different. I quickly learned that was not true.
That evening, as I worked through everything in my mind, I reached out to a lawyer friend to see if I had any recourse. I learned that different states have different protections. Additionally, I worried about what bringing a lawsuit would have done to my career. It would appear that I was out of luck.
In October 2019, when I saw that the Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments on three combined cases about workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, I was tentatively hopeful. Two of the cases involved gay men being fired while the third involved a transwoman deciding to begin wearing feminine clothes to work as a part of her social transition. However, I knew that with the current make-up of the court, it would be a difficult battle to win.
The lawyers rested their argument on the part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination based on sex. The logic goes that if the sex of any of the employees in these cases had been different, then the discrimination would not have occurred. I saw a bit of myself in each of the cases that were argued, and the argument made complete sense to me. If my sex were different, it would not be a problem that I love women. If my sex were different, it would not be a problem for me to have a more masculine gender expression. But would the nine justices see it that way?
On Monday, June 15, 2020, I woke up and by mid-morning I was checking the Twitter feeds of constitutional law lawyers that I follow. I held my breath as I refreshed. As the words materialized on my screen, that the 6 to 3 decision that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under the Civil Rights Act, I began to cry. A sense of relief and vindication washed over me.
I leaned back in my chair and smiled. I thought about the three defendants who fought for this, two of whom had passed away before being able to see their legacy. I thought about all the other people who this had happened to. And I thought about how great it has been to find a place to work where I never had to worry about how my identity would impact my employment. Now, everyone has that protection.