NewsCovering Kentucky


Kentuckians react to Supreme Court decision protecting LGBTQ workers from job discrimination

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 18:41:28-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Fairness Campaign has worked in Kentucky for more than 20 years to pass legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

This morning's ruling by the US Supreme Court protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment. It is a landmark victory for the LGBTQ community.

"I'm ecstatic, I'm overjoyed. It was obviously unexpected," said Georgetown activist Michael Dahl. "It's a very huge step I think."

For Kori, a transgender male and healthcare worker, this ruling is bittersweet coming on the heels of another decision.

Just a few days ago, an announcement by the Trump administration now means insurance policies and health care regulated under the Affordable Care Act can deny services to transgender people.

Due to health concerns, Kori says he needed a hysterectomy last year and now worries what could have happened if this had gone into effect sooner.

"Unfortunately, passing something like this basically means that my insurance could have denied me by saying it was transition-related. Saying that I didn't physically need it even though I could have died," said Kori.

There is still progress to be made for the LGBTQ community in Kentucky.

The Fairness Campaign is continuing to push their goals from the last legislative session to next year. Those goals include a ban on conversion therapy, which had bipartisan support, and passing a statewide fairness ordinance.

Dahl believes those bills may be within reach.

"I'm highly confident that the work that we've done these past few years. Moving forward, I'm highly confident that we can do this," said Dahl.

Lyndsay Nottingham, Kori's girlfriend, says she just wants people to treat Kori fairly, and for who he is.

"You don't have to agree with someone's lifestyle and their identity. But when it comes down to the very basis of it, a person is a person," said Nottingham.

"We're not trying to infringe on somebody's rights. It's not that we're trying to take away anyone's opinion. We just want the same things as everybody else," said Kori.

While this ruling does protect LGBTQ people in the workplace, the Fairness Campaign says a statewide Fairness Ordinance would extend protection to housing and public accommodations.

Executive Director Chris Hartman says that's why the fight for LGBTQ rights in Kentucky is not over just yet.