The American Family Therapy Academy applauds the landmark decision recently made by our Supreme Court to affirm the civil rights of gay and transgender people. In doing so, the highest Court responded to the courage, resilience and tenacity of L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ activists and advocates, their allies and families, and queer and trans affirming organizations that have been working to protect the L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ community from the ongoing assaults of transphobia, heteronormativity, and the vicious contempt of the current administration.
Our celebration of this decision is dampened by the tenacity of these brutal assaults, where in the midst of Pride Month, and on the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting (one of the worst mass killings in the nation’s history whose victims were primarily Queer People of Color), the White House chose to announce it was officially overturning protections in healthcare for transgender people and adding religious exemptions to the provision of services to L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ individuals and families. Shortly after, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has proposed that homeless shelters be allowed to deny trans people access to single-sex shelters that correspond with their gender identity in order to better accommodate the religious beliefs of shelter providers.
These acts by the government have inspired terror in the Trans community, which is already disproportionally exposed to violence and actively denied numerous legal protections across all domains of public life. The June Supreme Court ruling has determined that sexual and gender minorities are a protected class when it comes to employment, setting a precedent and making space for the possibility that discrimination will have consequences. This ruling marks an important advent. And it is not enough.
Only a few days after this ruling in support of L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ rights, the court denied the White House’s request to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, protecting the renewable permits that enable Dreamers to remain, study and work in the country in which they have long been building their lives. In this decision, the Supreme Court moved to recognize the dignity and humanity of Dreamers, their families and communities that have been enduring and combating the seemingly boundless brutality of our Executive Branch. This ruling too, marks an important advent. And again, it is not enough.
Legal victories such as these indeed have the power to reshape our lives and restore our spirits, offering us hope and a sense of possibility in the face of relentless harm. In the midst of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and long overdue shifts occurring in the public discourse on oppression, intimidation and police violence, hard won moments such as these can also serve to highlight the inconstant and brutal nature of social change. Justice may be meted out to some citizens while others clamor for justice long deserved and long denied.
It is our hope that our courts will continue to eek their way along toward justice and that as a public, we will continue to actively work for change.
It is our hope that all of these historic events – the battle for public safety from COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, the Court’s affirmation of rights in the L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ community, the Court’s decision to reject dismantling DACA despite the request of the White House, Affirmative Civil Rights - offer new territory to explore how we understand and are accountable to ourselves and to each other. In these times of resistance and social movement, as we honor so many expressions of extraordinary courage, we recognize how we depend on trust in the relationships that exist in our community to bring forth solid values and ethics that foster transformative action.