With Pride Month in full swing, we come together to celebrate love and unity in its various forms. As a lawyer, I have a special place in my heart for the LGBTQ+ community. We still have a long way to go societally to do right by this community, but it’s worth celebrating the encouraging progress made so far in the struggle to secure LGBTQ+ rights and anti-discrimination law.
Our legal system is set up to protect our rights as human beings and yes, as Americans. It’s built on ideals like full equality and excellent representation, but as we know, this isn’t always the case in practice. Sadly, my beloved Ohio is one of 27 states without LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.
There are events that make it clear we’re taking steps in the right direction though — even if we take a few backwards at times. Here are some positive outcomes we’ve seen in recent history.
Hamilton County’s First LGBTQ Sheriff
The story of Charmaine McGuffey’s primary win reads like a comeback sports movie. While working in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in 2017, McGuffey was allegedly the subject of a discriminatory report and subsequently fired. Three years later, she gained 70% of the vote to defeat the very man who fired her. A few months later, she became Hamilton County’s first LGBT sheriff as well as the county’s first woman to ever hold the position.
McGuffey settled a suit against the county in late 2020 when the judge ordered Hamilton county to pay out $474,999 in costs, fees, and McGuffey’s lost wages and benefits.
Legal Victories For LGBTQ Youth
Lambda Legal has a long list of LGBTQ discrimination suits and victories for LGBT youth and their allies. One of these wins came in Couch v. Wayne Local School District in Ohio. In this case, a student was threatened with expulsion for wearing a shirt that read, “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe.” The child, with the help of his LGBTQ-friendly counsel, was able to win the lawsuit, earning him “the right to wear the shirt whenever he wants, and awarding him $20,000 for damages, costs, and attorney’s fees.”
Questions About LGBTQ Law or Anti-Discrimination Law?
As we work toward a more egalitarian tomorrow, we must each recognize that the failure to uphold rights for one person or group means the failure of the whole.
As an LGBTQ-friendly lawyer, I treat everyone with the respect and compassion they deserve. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against, do not hesitate to schedule a free consultation with me. Because anti-discrimination law exists for a reason, and you deserve better.