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Scenes from the 2019 World Pride Parade in New York City on Sunday, June 30, 2019. Photograph by Victor Llorente for W Magazine.

Victor Llorente

In 1977, the county now known as Miami-Dade in Florida passed an ordinance protecting citizens based on their sexual orientation. The city had emerged as something of a burgeoning gay hotspot—an official second location of the Stonewall Inn had even opened there during that decade. At the time, several major cities and counties across the country passed similar legislation, and local activists started pushing for more change.

The county also happened to be home to Anita Bryant, a former beauty pageant winner with a string of semi-successful songs under her belt and a lucrative contract as the face of the state's orange juice industry. Bryant, a devout Christian, soon emerged as the leader of the "Save Our Children" campaign to overturn the ordinance. Their tactics were of the ugliest kind, and painted gay people as perverts, child molesters, and militants who actively wanted to recruit children to the "gay lifestyle."

Bryant's movement was not only the first time the religious right actively organized around gay rights in the political arena, but is seen by some political historians as the very birth of the religious as a political force. Bryant's campaign was not only successful in repealing the Dade County ordinance, but had national ramifications and fostered a dynamic that contributed directly to Ronald Reagan's inaction on HIV/AIDS in the '80s.

Though, the moment was also the first time that gay rights truly were pushed to the national stage—and fighting for a simple end to employment discrimination has animated the LGBT+ rights movement for decades.

Today's Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County finally makes employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity illegal across the United States. Until this morning, a person could be fired for simply being gay or transgender with no questions asked in 17 states (including two of the three most populated, Texas and Florida). Several other states only had protections for employees in the public sector. The decision, written (somewhat surprisingly) by Trump-appointee Neil Gorsuch, concluded that the LGBT+ community is protected under the Civil Rights act.

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Notably, the decision is inclusive of trans people. Several previous attempts to enshrine protection on the basis of sexual orientation often were not inclusive of trans identities.

While the case focused on employment protections, the wording of the decision implies it could have far-reaching consequences. Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Transgender Justice with the ACLU and a lawyer involved with the case, has tweeted that the decision would, for example, almost certainly doom recent anti-trans healthcare rules announced by the Trump administration last week.

So, 51 years after the first brick at Stonewall, and 43 years after Bryant got a pie to the face, there's finally victory in one of the oldest fights for LGBT+ rights.