After SCOTUS Nomination, Queer Eye Reminds Us What is at Stake with LGBTQ + Civil Rights
It’s been a tough few weeks. President Trump announced the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, which will change the balance of the court against the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people. The only thing that is helping me get through this week is the new season of Queer Eye, where the Fab 5 are changing lives and making me sob happy tears on my couch. This season the boys met Skyler, a 30-year-old trans man living in Atlanta GA. Skyler’s story highlights all that is at risk with Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.
Usually the fab five come on the scene and use interior design, fashion, grooming, culture, and culinary expertise (or in Antoni’s case a questionable knowledge of avocado based appetizers) to not only better an individual’s life, but to also use their platform to talk about the queer experience. In this episode, the fab five take a seat and listen as Skyler discusses some of the very real harassment and discrimination he and other members of the trans community face every day.
As a trans man living in the south, Skyler has faced pervasive harassment and discrimination. For example, Skyler was unable to get his first suit tailored because he feared for his safety if the tailor found out he was a trans man. Surgery hospital staff, including his own doctors, continually misgendered him and repeatedly called him by the wrong pronouns when he was getting his surgery.
We know the harassment and discrimination Skyler faced happens to trans folks every day across the country. And Skyler’s doctors misgendering him while he was in the hospital is a prime example of sex discrimination in health care, and violation of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Care Rights Law.
The Health Care Rights Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in health care and protects transgender patients, as well as women, people who are pregnant, have had an abortion, and those who don’t meet traditional sex stereotypes. This law is critically important but the Trump Administration and anti-trans health care providers and organizations want to end these protections. If cases challenging this protection – or other laws that protect trans individuals – make their way to the Supreme Court, what would Kavanaugh do? Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated that he is willing to allow religious beliefs to override an individual’s access to health care…. We need to know where Kavanaugh stands on these issues, and we need a Supreme Court justice committed to protecting patients. Otherwise, stories like Skyler’s will become even more common.
We can’t let this happen, Justice Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court was seen as the key vote for LGBTQ+ cases in the past, and we need to appoint a justice who will protect the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people. Call your Senators and let them know that is at stake if Kavanaugh is appointed.
And if you or someone you know has been discriminated against there are various legal options available to you. You have rights. And you can always contact the National Women’s Law Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity at (202) 319-3033 or fill out our legal assistance form online.