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Since We Last Spoke: The End of Locker-Room Talk as We Know It

Updates to stories from the Pacific Standard archive.

In February, a federal appeals court ruled that a provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sex also prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination. The decision is the latest instance of what Michael Fitzgerald described as "the end of locker-room talk" in the May/June 2015 issue of Pacific Standard.

The Second Circuit court's ruling centered on the case of a skydiving instructor, Donald Zarda. He filed a lawsuit against his employer, Altitude Express, alleging that the company fired him because of his sexual orientation and in doing so violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. But determining sex-based discrimination is tough, as Fitzgerald reported. "The language in Title VII is, by Washington standards, brief and open-ended," he wrote. "It prohibits job discrimination on the basis of sex, but the term sex is not defined, and the word harassment never even appears."

If the recent ruling is any indication, America's federal courts are slowly starting to side with the argument that the Civil Rights Act applies to all people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

A version of this story originally appeared in the June/July 2018 issue of Pacific Standard. Subscribe now and get eight issues/year or purchase a single copy of the magazine.