Sex Discrimination Law and LGBT Equality

Author(s): 
Katie R. Eyer
Publication Date: 
August 8, 2017

In this Issue Brief, Katie Eyer makes the case that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are clearly prohibited under existing principles of sex discrimination law. Nevertheless, courts have only recently begun to extend protections against sex discrimination to litigants claiming discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. While this is a promising development for LGBT equality, Eyer concludes that a law explicitly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is still needed and would signal that “large majorities of the national community share a commitment to LGBT equality.” Such a law could not be more important now, in the wake of President Trump’s announcement that transgender people will no longer be welcome in the armed forces, and the Justice Department’s position that federal law does not protect against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.