The Trump administration chose not to use any gender pronouns to refer to Aimee Stephens in the more than 110 pages filed to the Supreme Court regarding her upcoming workplace discrimination case.
As reported by NBC News, the administration’s court filings for Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC never once use she/her pronouns — or any gender pronouns, period — to refer to Stephens, a funeral director who was allegedly fired because she’s a trans woman.
The Justice Department is arguing that the protections against discrimination on the basis of sex found in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act do not protect trans people on the basis of gender identity — the crux of this case, which is set to begin this October. The omission of gender pronouns could suggest that on top of not believing that Stephens’ federal rights have been violated, the Trump administration doesn’t believe that she’s even a woman at all.
“It's egregious the administration refuses to treat Aimee with even the bare minimum of respect, particularly while they're arguing to restrict her rights, the rights of 2 million transgender Americans, and the rights of anyone who doesn't conform to their boss's notion of gender,” says Gillian Branstetter, the Media Relations Manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality. “It's symptomatic of an ideology that views transgender people as second-class citizens, unworthy of the respect of their government.”
Harris Funeral Homes is one of two cases concerning Title VII that the Supreme Court will hear arguments for on Oct. 8. The other is the consolidated case of both Zarda v. Altitude Express and Bostock v. Clayton County, which aims to determine whether the Civil Rights Act’s protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sex covers people on the basis of sexual orientation.