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Bozeman LGBTQ advocate remains hopeful after Supreme Court's ruling

Posted at 2:11 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 16:11:22-04

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status, which one Bozeman advocate regards as a huge victory for the LGBTQ community.

“I’m really happy. I’m really happy that people like me don’t have to worry about hiding our identities when we’re trying to go to work or hiding our identities when we’re trying to get a job,” said Tristan Harris-Pearce.

Harris-Pearce is an LGBTQ advocate and Bozeman resident.

In 2014, the city of Bozeman passed a similar non-discrimination ordinance. But before Monday, it was legal in more than half the country for people to be fired based on their sexual orientation.

“Like if I were to go somewhere else that did not have a non-discrimination ordinance, I wouldn’t have to be afraid of not having my job,” Harris-Pearce said.

The ruling gained national attention. Some leaders don’t agree with the outcome.

“It’s also disheartening. It’s like yeah, you know. I’m sorry that you can’t see that I exist and that I’m also a human being that deserves the same rights as you do,” he explained.

But there were also leaders in support of the ruling.

“Thank you for advocating on my behalf in places where I may not normally be able to talk, weaponizing your straightness and your allyship to bring me up to that same level systematically,” Harris-Pearce said.

Which is what he hopes to see moving forward.

“Utilize your privilege to help those around you. It’s never wrong to say something. It’s wrong to not being open to learning more," he urged.

The ruling had a 6-3 vote in favor of the legislation.