Aimee Stephens died before a ruling was reached in her transgender rights Supreme Court case

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Aimee Stephens. - ACLU
  • ACLU
  • Aimee Stephens.

Aimee Stephens did not live long enough to see the ruling of her trailblazing discrimination lawsuit. The case was one of three before the Supreme Court that could become a landmark for transgender rights.

According to The New York Times, Stephens died on Tuesday at age 59 from complications related to kidney failure. A decision in the case was expected as soon as Thursday.



Stephens entered hospice care earlier this month. Her family has started a GoFundMe campaign to cover expenses.

Stephens made national headlines when she said she was fired from her job at metro Detroit-based RG & GR Funeral Homes in 2013 after coming out as transgender. Two weeks later, the funeral home's owner, Thomas Rost, fired her, and Stephens sued for discrimination. She was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.



In 2018, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Stephens' favor, and the funeral home then appealed to the Supreme Court. The case was heard along with two others in October 2019 to determine whether LGBTQ people are protected from employment discrimination on the basis of sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Stephens traveled to Washington, D.C., for the occasion.

"To hear them outside of the courthouse steps chanting my name, telling me that they loved me, that has a big effect on you," she said in an ACLU video. "The more I’ve seen the support, it gives me the strength to get up another day, to go on fighting another day and give that same hope to all the rest."

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