I’ve spent a great deal of time recently thinking about rights. Human rights. Equal rights. The right to live. The right to work. The right to marry. The piece of art by Huyen Dinh created around the Black Lives Matter movement that's been making its way around social media. Dinh's lettering reads, “Equal rights for others doesn't mean less rights for you. It’s not pie.” I’d like to have that tattooed to the inside of my eyelids because it’s just so blatantly obvious to me, and yet such a good reminder that so many people somehow don’t agree. A reminder that there is still so, so much work to be done.
The U.S. Supreme Court decided a week ago today that the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees from discrimination on the basis of sex, should be read to include sexual orientation as well. This is truly a landmark moment for the LGBTQIA+ community. And as an ally, here’s what I have to say about it:
It’s. About. Damn. Time.
As a People & Culture team member, I’ve felt the nervousness of coworkers coming out to me for the first time. Doing it subtly, not an announcement, but just sharing a life update – they’re dating someone new and she’s amazing, they’re moving in with their partner, their husband got a new job – watching me closely while they speak their words, waiting to see my reaction. I feel their hesitation, their worry about what I might think. It pains me to watch them ache trying to express who they are. I know that with the Supreme Court's decision, that hesitation won’t go away tomorrow. It will take time to feel the protection this ruling affords.
I long for days ahead when we look back in history and think…
“How were we ever even there?”
“How was this okay?”
“How did people let that happen?”
I hope I live to see those days, and many, many more days like last Monday - when the shit that should’ve happened centuries ago, when the laws that give everyone the same basic human rights, finally come to fruition.
Congratulations to the LGBTQIA+ community members at Hotwire and beyond. Your rights as employees here will always be intact. We love you and we are grateful that you are here, bringing your whole self to work each day.
“Title VII’s message is ‘simple but momentous,’” Justice Gorsuch wrote, citing a 1989 opinion by the late liberal Justice William Brennan forbidding discrimination against employees who failed to conform to sex stereotypes.. “An individual employee’s sex is ‘not relevant to the selection, evaluation, or compensation of employees.’” “The statute’s message for our cases is equally simple and momentous: An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions,” Justice Gorsuch said, “because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”