14 April 2015

Be A Man--And Lose Your Job

I realize that when I'm not talking about my own experience on this blog, I'm as likely as not to be talking about male-to-female transgenders and transsexuals and their experiences.  That's natural, I guess, though I am trying to give some time and space to female-to-male trans people as well as others on the gender identity and sexual orientation spectra.

After all, FTMs experience many of the same things we, as MTFs, live with and through.  There is, of course, the joy of being ourselves.  But there is also the risk of incurring prejudice that can lead to anything from losing one's friends to losing one's life.

Tristan Broussard now understands this all too well.  Two years ago, he was working in the Lake Charles, Louisiana of Flowood, Missisippi-based First Tower Loan LLC.  That is, until a company executive found out that on his driver's license, he was listed as female.  That executive then demanded that Broussard sign a document promising that he would dress as a woman on the job and when out of town on business, he would stay in rooms with other female employees.

That document included a statement that his "preference (italics mine) to act and dress as male, despite having been born a female, is not something that will be in compliance with Tower Loan's personnel policies".  

Broussard would not sign the statement.  That refusal cost him his job.

Yesterday, with the support of the Southern Poverty Law Center (a great organization!), he filed suit against the company.  The National Center for Lesbian Rights is also backing him.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had previously reviewed his case and on 2 December 2014 ruled that discrimination had indeed occurred.  However, the EEOC decided not to pursue a case against Tower Loan.

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