I’ve been an LGBTQ+ activist for 15 years, but today, my heart is full of complicated feelings about the Title VII Supreme Court ruling protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The reason? Black lives matter.

There’s a special kind of irony that this ruling come from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the more than 50 years since its passage, people of color are still vulnerable to state-sanctioned violence. Marriage equality was granted by the court on June 26, 2015. That day, it also effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act. On Monday, the court quietly freed cops from accountability (again) by essentially upholding qualified immunity while the media celebrated LGBT equality.

I am white, queer and femme – I have the privilege to “pass” in majority culture and choose whether to claim political identities that correspond to who I am. This is one of many privileges not afforded to people of color, and lethally stolen from George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Tony McDade and Breonna Taylor.

If the plaintiffs in Bostock v. Clayton County (the decision announced Monday) were black, would they have received dignity and a national stage? I think about trans women of color forced to work in the informal economy without any protections and who are exponentially more vulnerable to violence because of it.

For me, this victory rings hollow. I do not trust laws that do not protect black lives. I reject their authority to decide who to protect, who to serve and who should fend for themselves.

Tess Macoy


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