Actress Laverne Cox on Sunday used her time on the 2019 Emmys red carpet to discuss an upcoming Supreme Court case that will decide whether federal employment law that bans discrimination based on sex does the same based on transgender status.
“When I got my Emmy nomination this year, my third one, I was like this is weird. I thought, there has to be a bigger reason and I thought, OK, maybe it’s about this case and maybe its about raising awareness so that everyone knows our lives are in danger,” Cox told E! News on the red carpet.
“And a lot of people aren’t talking about this case and it has implications for the LGBTQ community, but it has implications for women and anyone who doesn’t conform to someone else’s idea of like how you should be a man or a woman or both or neither,” she added.
The case, which will be heard on October 8, marks one of the most important cases of the upcoming Supreme Court term. Last month, the Justice Department reiterated to the Court that it does not believe that federal employment law that bans discrimination based on sex encompasses discrimination based on transgender status.
Title VII, of the Civil Rights Act, that bars discrimination based on sex “does not bar discrimination because on transgender status,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in a brief filed with the Supreme Court last month.
Lower courts – and the federal government – have split on the issue of whether Title VII provides such protections.
ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio, who Cox brought as her guest to the award show, told E! News on the red carpet that the case would have implications beyond the LGBTQ community.
“Everyone should be aware that the administration is asking the Supreme Court to make it legal to fire workers just because they’re LGBTQ and this is actually going to transform the lives of LGBTQ people and people who are not LGBTQ,” Stangio said. “Anyone who departs from sex stereotypes like all the fabulous people here for example so we really need to show up October 8 and pay attention because our lives are really on the line.”
Cox has frequently used her platform to advocate against LGBTQ discrimination. After President Donald Trump announced his plan to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the US armed forces in 2017, Cox tweeted “marginalized folks have often found ourselves at odds with systems which seek to subjugate & erase us.”
“My fellow trans Americans despite what some may say your existence is valuable,” she said. “Your lives, safety, & service matter.”
CNN’s Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.