Supreme Court Ruling on LGBT Rights
One hopeful event occurring this week was the Supreme Court decision banning discrimination against gay and transgender workers. In examining Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, wrote for the majority, “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
The decision represents a significant victory for the LGBT community and hopefully a promising sign for gender-nonconforming and transgender college students who continue to report higher levels of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression with discrimination a contributing factor.
According to research from the Healthy Minds Network, gender-nonconforming and transgender students are four times more likely to report mental health issues, compared to their cisgender peers. The 2019 study found that almost 80 percent of gender-minority students surveyed reported having at least one mental health issue, and more than one-third said they had seriously considered suicide. And a 2015 national study showed that 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt, almost entirely before the age of 25.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that this is a transformative ruling for LGBTQ rights in the U.S.,” says Dr. Sarah Ketchen Lipson, co-Principal Investigator of the Healthy Minds Network. “There is still an enormous amount of work to do in terms of advancing LGBTQ equality, including on college campuses, where many transgender and genderqueer students are unable to change their name in campus records or access gender-inclusive campus accommodations. I am hopeful that we will continue to see protections put in place for LGBTQ individuals nationally and within higher education.”