from tinkering to transformation: the intersection of equal justice under the law

The United States Supreme Court ruled early yesterday morning that gay and transgender people are protected from workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  I heard the actual Breaking News on my tv as I sat in my favorite blue recliner with my dog Charly who really didn’t understand my sudden outburst into tears – not my usual response to the Breaking News recently.

My commitment to social justice issues for more than 40 years made this news especially sweet to an old dyke growing up in the 1950s in a tiny town in the piney woods of southeast Texas. The marriage equality decision by the Supremes in June of 2015 had been huge and one I never thought I would live to see. And now, another unimaginable move forward for the gay and trans communities with protection in the places we work. We can no longer be fired for who we are. The 6 – 3 decision was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, whose phone must be ringing off wherever he keeps it today. Good on you.

Charly has become more accustomed to outbursts of anger with expletives directed at the perfect storm created by the Covid-19 chaotic governmental responses to a pandemic that continues to spike in my home state of South Carolina as it rages along in other states having similar numbers – always sure to warrant choice words from me – plus the murders of two black men by white policemen in recent weeks that have called to our public consciousness once again the systemic racism we have continued to address and ignore sporadically for more than 400 years of our country’s history. As Maya Wiley, an attorney and American Civil Rights activist, explained “We must move from tinkering with change to true transformation.” Amen to that.

My Texas sister Leora called me early today and shouted a loud “Congratulations!” over the phone. I was not quick enough to understand what she meant. When I asked her, she said for the Supreme Court decision yesterday for you and Pretty and all the other people who are trying to find equal justice where you work. I was overwhelmed and told her my celebration had been muted by the other horrific acts in recent days to which she responded: “You can breathe right now in this one place so celebrate the moment. We can all breathe again when we get the knees off our necks because of George Floyd’s death.” My African American sister gets it – the intersection of all of our hopes for a day when equal justice under the law is more than just empty words. I love Leora for many reasons, but today I love her for reminding me to be happy.

Stay safe, stay sane and please stay tuned.






About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to from tinkering to transformation: the intersection of equal justice under the law

  1. Wayside Artist says:

    I’m still in awe, though I had a hunch Roberts & Gorsuch would support this.

    Let Lenore know I’m determined black people will breathe too.
    Today my mind has been on all people of color and religions not Christian. I read and reported an ugly Tweet aimed at Ilhan Omar in response to her father’s death. Hate has grown spreading roots in this country. Knees need to be lifted off necks and used to pull out the ugly weeds.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susanne says:

    A sign of hope, welcome news even here, in this vast dominion of Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.