Aimee Stephens, a transgender Michigan “woman” whose case questioning whether federal law protects openly transgender people from job discrimination was the first of its kind to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, died Tuesday at age 59.
The death is not expected to affect the court’s deliberations or a decision, since the case is advanced enough and there are other cases in which the estate of a deceased party to a case has continued to seek a judgment, U.S. News reports.
Stephens, a former funeral home worker who claimed he was terminated in 2013 for being transgender, was still awaiting the court’s decision, expected by the end of June. The American Civil Liberties Union, which helped present the case to the court, announced Stephens’ death on May 12.
“Aimee did not set out to be a hero and a trailblazer, but she is one, and our country owes her a debt of gratitude for her commitment to justice for all people and her dedication to our transgender community,” said Chase Strangio, a member of Stephens’ legal team and an ACLU official, using the female pronoun for the biologically male Stephens.
No cause was given for Stephens’ death, though he suffered kidney failure in 2014 and had been on dialysis three times a week when the Free Press spoke to her in 2019.
The ACLU said Stephens’ wife, Donna Stephens, was with Aimee when he died.