Three huge cases are hitting the high court this month that threaten to demolish our Title VII protections. Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda and Bostock v. Clayton County concern the legal rights employers have to fire someone over their sexual orientation, while R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is about the unjustified termination of a trans woman. The plaintiffs in all three cases argue that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- which bars discrimination against employees based on sex, race, color, national origin and religion -- also protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The employers cite religious reasons for the firings, as well as arguing that the text of Title VII does not explicitly include protections for LGBTQ+ employees.
The first few weeks of September are unlike any other time of the year. They are a magical, blissful period where students are simply happy to be back on campus before the full brunt of all their classes has started to set in. Days are filled with meeting up with friends, getting lost between buildings, and promising yourself that this will finally be the year you get off that random club’s email list. Campus is filled with hammock enthusiasts and preachers alike as they scramble to make the most out of the diag before the weather goes bad. Some days it feels you can barely go ten feet without tripping over one, whether peacefully cocooned between trees or shouting slurs at the top of their lungs. This last bit, of course, is regarding the infamous diag preachers. While I am sure homophobic hammock users exist, I have yet to meet one.
Donald Trump may finally be on his way out. After an unidentified CIA whistleblower shed light on Trump’s abuse of power, Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry against the president on September 24. The House of Representatives will vote on articles of impeachment to send the case to Senate for trial. So far, Trump has been accused of promising a meeting and military aid to Ukrainian President Zolodymyr Zelensky in a quid pro quo exchange for a political investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country. Although previous investigations have shown no wrongdoing on the part of Joe or Hunter Biden, Trump has attempted to use his position to dredge up dirt against a potential political opponent in the 2020 election.
From February 3 – 8, the Spectrum Center hosted the 2020 LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Week. The week featured several events of different varieties. The events steered clear of the image of a cliché wellness week; there weren’t any workshops on how to make stress balls, or on the importance of self care without defining what that means beyond the surface-level. Instead, the organizers have realized the importance of acknowledging the wider stresses and trauma overlying the community, and the specificity of the issues for people of LGBTQ+ identities. Along with this comes an understanding of the necessity of activism against the overlying oppression on the community as a whole. These events did a great job balancing the amount of complexity that goes into health and wellness for people of LGBTQ+ identities while being interesting and supportive.
The 2020 presidential election is fast approaching. Depending upon when you are reading this. you might even be in the process of deciding who to support in the Michigan primary now. Whether voting, choosing a campaign to donate money to, or just considering which candidate to support in general, hopefully you want a someone who supports LGBT rights. Here, for your consideration, is a look into how the frontrunners have voted in regards to LGBT rights in the past.
On Sunday, October 6, Michigan Athletics held its first ever LGBTQ+ Pride Day. Hosted at the University of Michigan’s soccer stadium, the event took place during the Men’s and Women’s Soccer Doubleheader game. The Pride Day event aimed to make a show of support for LGBTQ+ athletes at the University of Michigan and to promote visibility and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. Nathan Brecht, Assistant Director of Fan Experience at the University of Michigan Athletics Department, told us, “We have been exploring the idea of doing a Pride Day for quite some time as part of our overall programming and with an eye towards student engagement and diversity. We strive to use our platforms to engage people from all backgrounds, experiences and interests.”