CEO's Note

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.
Rachel B. Tiven

A Defining Moment

How many of you spent some or maybe all of your career in hiding, carefully avoiding mention of the person you loved, “straightening up” what you did over the weekend? Were you passed over for a job or a promotion, maybe with a snide remark about being “unmarried”?

So many in our community lived in fear for so long, and too many still do. Our freedom to love is empty if it does not translate into the freedom to work. That’s why I am so excited and so proud of Jameka Evans, who is featured on our cover. When Jameka was harassed and demeaned at work because she is a gay woman, she sued—first, bravely on her own, and when we learned about her case, with our help. Now we are appealing her case to the Supreme Court: asking them to say conclusively that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is a form of sex discrimination. That means that LGBT discrimination is illegal under the Civil Rights Act.

I am writing this just weeks after American Nazis and other white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, and were endorsed by the President of the United States. Since then, more than any time in the past year, I have moments of deep fear. What good is it to be recognized under the Civil Rights Act if states ignore the law? What does it matter that Lambda Legal wins our cases in so many courts, when we will ultimately come before more and more judges like Neil Gorsuch, who sneer at us?

At Lambda Legal we are institutionalists—we believe in the court system, in the rule of law. Perhaps this is naïve— perhaps our country is in much deeper danger. It seemed to me that most Americans were revolted by the President’s endorsement of white supremacy—but perhaps it is too late. Perhaps the nation has been gerrymandered beyond repair. Perhaps the President will use the military and a quiescent Congress to postpone the next election.

Lambda Legal and our many, many civil rights partners and supporters around the country will never give up, and we will never give in. We will keep going to court for as long as there are courts, and we will keep using the Constitution to protect our people. Our lives depend on it.