FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pre-action and day of action onsite: Jennifer Johnson Avril, firstname.lastname@example.org; (m) 646-732-1573
Day of action offsite: Ashley Lake, email@example.com; (p) 718-408-6579, (m) 347-668-1407
LGBTQ+ ADVOCATES TO TRUMP ADMINISTRATION:
WE ARE THE WORKFORCE
October 8th Demonstration Protested Setbacks to Workplace Discrimination Protections
October 8th, 2019 -- Housing Works, the nation’s largest community-based HIV/AIDS organization, has organized a national action with civil disobedience including 133 arrests and over 500 participants that took place on Tuesday, October 8th near the Supreme Court as judges hear three cases that could legalize workplace discrimination, primarily against LGBTQ+ people, on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender presentation. The Court will ultimately decide whether the definition of “sex” in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act includes sexual orientation and/or gender identity – despite numerous legal precedents supporting that it does. Full details about the action can be provided under embargo upon request.
Housing Works is coordinating national mobilization and all details of the demonstration. Co-sponsors to date include ACT UP NY, ACT UP Philadelphia, Amida Care, Bailey House, Brown and Black Workers Cooperative, Caribbean Equality Project, Center for Popular Democracy, End AIDS Now, Harlem United, HealthGAP, LGBTQ Center of Bay County, Let’s Kick ASS NY (AIDS Survivor Syndrome), New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG), New York State Nurses Association, Queerocracy, Reclaim Pride Coalition, Rise and Resist, St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction, Student Global AIDS Campaign,Treatment Action Group (TAG), Visual AIDS, VOCAL-NY, and Youth Caucus of America.
On October 8th, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in three cases to determine whether LGBTQ+ people are protected from workplace discrimination by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. The Court will ultimately decide whether the definition of “sex” in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act includes sexual orientation and/or gender identity – despite numerous legal precedents supporting that it does.
Those who wish to support the action but cannot come to DC on October 8th are encouraged to:
● follow Housing Works on Facebook (@housingworks.org) where the action will be streamed
● post stories on Twitter about their own related discrimination experiences, tagging Housing Works (@housingworks), with the hashtag #WeAreTheWorkforce, which will also serve as a virtual rally on the day of the action.
“We already live in a world where people who don't fit societal conventions of gender expression are subject to stigma, discrimination, verbal and physical abuse, and even being killed for who they are,” said Charles King, Co-founder and CEO of Housing Works. “This is compounded for our transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming brothers, sisters, and siblings. We are mobilizing this action because we are deeply concerned and angered that the gates could be opened to losing rights and protections in the workplace, in education, healthcare, the military, and beyond.”
“Our National LGBTQIA family has been under a series of attacks under this current administration,“ said Kiara St. James, Co-founder and Executive Director of New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG), which is co-sponsoring the event. “It has been exact and intentional in stripping many recently hard-won protections in the workplace and healthcare. If the court decides it is legal to discriminate against LGBTQ* workers, it is Black trans women who will be the most impacted, and it will only increase the national epidemic of violence towards them. October 8th will set the tone as to whether our nation will continue to slide down the abyss of intolerance or begin to push back against it.”
"A ruling that workplace discrimination against trans, queer, lesbian, gay, bi and/or gender non-conforming people is lawful would have disastrous and far-reaching consequences,” said Asia Russell, Exectuive Director of Health GAP, which is co-sponsoring the action. “These effects wouldn't stop at the borders of the U.S. Many governments want nothing better than to use the sanctioning of bigotry in the U.S. as a justification for further promotion of discrimination--in delivery of HIV treatment and prevention services, in the workforce, and all aspects of civic life. A toxic coalition, led by the U.S., intent on rolling back decades of progress in fighting discrimination, must be rejected by communities worldwide."
"This is a foolish and dangerous move,” said José de Marco of ACT UP Philly, which is co-sponsoring the action. “People will avoid HIV testing for fear of being outed and possibly fired. HIV testing requires being asked invasive questions about the mode of transmission. That information is sent to the Federal Center for Disease Control that is available to government health officials for surveillance. The majority of new HIV infections are black and brown men. Those men that do not know their status will now avoid volunteer testing, potentially exacerbating an already burgeoning health crisis. And because of this reckless act and ignorant action, heterosexual men will not be tested for fear of being labeled gay.”
Reclaim Pride Coalition, which is also co-sponsoring the action, provided the following statement: "Reclaim Pride Coalition fully supports and will join the action on Oct. 8th at the United States Supreme Court. We must show the Court that LGBTQIATS+ people are entitled to protection under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. We will not tolerate ongoing discrimination."
About Housing Works
Housing Works is a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Founded in 1990, our mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts.