Aimee Stephens, the transgender worker
at the center of a Supreme Court discrimination case, has died at age
The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) announced her death on Tuesday.
Stephens died at her home outside
Detroit from complications related to kidney failure. Her wife, Donna
Stephens, was by her side, the ACLU said.
Stephens was fired from a funeral home
after she announced to her employer that she was transitioning. The
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued R.G. & G.R.
Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan over its firing of Stephens. The
case was the first at the appellate level to conclude that sex
discrimination under Title VII covers bias against transgender
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The case was consolidated before the
Supreme Court with cases involving gay workers who allege similar
workplace discrimination. A decision is expected before June.
In remembering Stephens, Alphonso
David, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's
largest LGBT rights advocate, described her as a “trailblazer.”
“Aimee Stephens will be remembered as
a trailblazer,” David said. “All of us in the LGBTQ community owe
her immense gratitude for her bravery in standing up for the right of
LGBTQ people to live as ourselves at work and in every aspect of our
lives. After being fired by her employer when she told them she was
transgender, she was determined to fight back and took her case all
the way to the Supreme Court, where it is pending. Aimee will always
be a hero to transgender and non-binary people and to the entire
LGBTQ community. We share our deepest condolences with all of her
friends and family, and especially her wife, Donna Stephens.”