Ruth Bader Ginsburg: It’s Not Just the Loss of a Justice.

It’s the loss of our future rights.

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Michael Jenkins

Isabella Shamoun, Editor

I was doing homework on my phone when my mom came into my room and solemnly announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. Shocked and scared, I started texting my friends the bad news. My hands were shaking slightly making it harder to type. As someone who identifies as a pansexual woman, I am afraid of the future that America is heading towards. One where we wouldn’t have a strong female justice fighting to safeguard women’s rights.  One where I won’t be able to celebrate my sexuality and gender as I should.

I came out to my parents in my 8th-grade year of middle school as pansexual, and they were confused but supportive. My friends had known about my sexuality for a year prior and were always backing me up. I have it easy, as I am straight-passing, meaning I look and act like a straight person “should”. But, while I am privileged, I can’t sit idly by while the rest of my community suffers at the hands of politicians. 

While serving as a justice, Ginsburg played a major role in the recent victories of gay and transgender rights in America. Not only voting to ensure those communities are guaranteed the rights that they deserve, but voting to keep religious politicians and organizations that oppose those communities within firm boundaries.  She went head to head with some of the biggest anti-gay attorney’s at the time, like John Bursch, and refuted their arguments. This exposure led to politicians changing their votes regarding same-sex marriage, which eventually was made legal. Her contribution was apparent according to Mary Bonuato, a civil rights attorney at LGBTQ Advocates and Defenders.  

Following her death, things are starting to look grim again for the LGBTQ+ community due to the sudden push to appoint conservative justice Amy Coney Barrett in her place. Barrett is a conservative Christian who has publicly stated that “marriage and family [is] founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman.” She is not only known for fighting against gay marriage but the right for transgender individuals to use the bathrooms they identify with, among other things. If she is appointed as a justice than Ginsburg’s dedication to the LGBTQ+ movement will have gone to waste.

It is important to note that a Supreme Court Justice serves for life or until they back down from the position. Meaning that if a conservative Justice is appointed, like Barrett, the ratio of republicans to democrats will we 6 to 3. And those conservative views will be dominating the Court for the next 30-50 years.

I am concerned for the transgender youth population, who are already suffering from harsh laws and who’s rights to exist aren’t guaranteed.  For the teenagers who aren’t accepted, who just love and just are, and who won’t have an ally within the government to rely on. To the young girls who face sexism daily, and who feel hopeless that their reproductive rights might be taken away. Who are scared to stand up for themselves because they feel like no one will listen. 

The public not only grieves the loss of Ginsburg, but the loss of LGBTQ rights, of women’s rights, of human rights, and the resulting effects it will have on Americans for generations to come.