Mara Keisling informed us today in this email that transgender advocate Aimee Stephens has died.
It is with heavy hearts that we learn today of the passing of Aimee Stephens. Stephens, the plaintiff in the groundbreaking case regarding transgender discrimination in the workplace that made it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, was the first transgender person to have a civil rights complaint heard by the high court.
With heavy hearts, we must share the news that Aimee Stephens, whose landmark case was the first case about the civil rights of transgender people to be heard by the Supreme Court, died today at her home in Detroit with her wife, Donna Stephens, at her side. She was 59.
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 12, 2020
In the midst of her historic court case, Aimee once said that being fired simply for being who she was the moment it finally hit home that trans people weren’t treated the same as everybody else and decided it was time that somebody stood up and said enough is enough. We are so grateful that Aimee was the one to step forward and put herself in the spotlight to fight for justice for our community. Our thoughts are with her beloved wife, Donna, and all those who loved her and looked up to her. NCTE will continue to work to achieve equality for transgender people across the country in her honor.
Aimee Stephens worked at Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan for six years before coming out to her employer, who fired her explicitly because she is transgender. Stephens successfully challenged the firing at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and again at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, both of which ruled her dismissal was in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimination in employment.
Aimee fought for equality, not just for herself, but for the whole transgender community. The work she did will be remembered for generations and will inspire countless people to take up their own fight for equality and justice for all. May her memory be an inspiration to us all.
National Center for Transgender Equality