By Velena Jones

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — New protection from the Supreme Court is delivering a major victory in the fight for civil rights for LGBTQ people across the nation.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that it is illegal for an employer to discriminate or fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

It’s a ruling Lily Weaver said she wished was in place last year while she was at a previous job.

“No matter how hard I work or how nice I am, how hard I try, I’m defined by that one thing about me,” said Weaver.

As a transgender woman, Weaver said she has struggled to fit in her whole life. Last year, she said those feelings caused her to leave her former job after she felt discriminated against. Weaver said comments were made about transgender men and women, which made her feel comfortable. She filed an official complaint but her employer believed no discrimination took place. Weaver decided to leave after her complaint went nowhere.

“Letting this happen and the way they hand handled it after, they told me who they were,” she explained. “Finally, to get to the point where you are able to be in the world, as who you are and people still want to exclude you based on one characteristic that they imagine about you, is horrible.”

Weaver hopes others in the LGBTQ community will not have to go through the same pain as she did.

The Sacramento LGBT Community Center believes while this is a huge step forward, it is also a reminder on why they need to continue to double their efforts for advocating for the community.

“Here in California even though we have had legal protections for some time, people still face discrimination and harassment and are fired every day,” said CEO of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, David Heitstuman.

Heitstuman believes the state will still feel an impact from the court ruling.

“Now that there are federal protections, maybe people will be more likely to stand up for their rights and to be forthcoming about going into access health care, reporting discrimination, or harassment,” he explained.

The Supreme Court decision comes in the middle of Pride month and just days after the Trump administration announced it is rolling back Obama-era health care protections for transgender patients. The move impacts patients’ ability to fight against discrimination by health care providers.

“In Pride month we see these disparities in decision…I think that it is hard to reconcile things. In a moment when you want to celebrate the progress of our community but you also want to acknowledge the struggle that began 50 years ago continues today,” Heitstuman said.

The Community Center is advocating for the passing of the Equality Act that would provide widespread non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community.

“We have to continue to redouble our efforts on the advocacy front to ensure that we can continue to move these cases forward through the courts. That we can continue to push to get Congress to act in a way that would provide further protection and do things like passing the equality act that would provide those sort of protections,” he said.

Velena Jones

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