Friday, May 14, 2010

Bedroom Antics

Thanks in part to pressure from New York AG Andrew Cuomo, American Eagle will stop discriminating against trans employees by dropping a requirement that employees wear "gender-specific clothing". Great news, you say? Well, you're not the FRC (thank God):
"ENDA, what might be more appropriately called 'The Cross-Dresser Protection Act,' takes the bedroom into the workplace and unfairly burdens employers to know about their employee's sexual lives. This major expansion of federal power over the workplace places an unnecessary burden on small businesses and local communities.

First, as Vanessa notes, this reveals absolutely nothing about any employee's "sexual lives". Knowing that an employee is trans (or a "cross-dresser") doesn't say anything about one's sexual practices (including whether one is gay, straight, or bi). It's the FRC that is sexualizing this, not anybody else.

But even taking the FRC's misguided analysis at face value, what it boils down to is that employers will be "burdened" by the knowledge that someone that they talk to might be ... having sex? Having teh gay sex? Whatever it is, I'm not sure how this abstract knowledge rises to the level of cognizable harm.


dammit janet said...

... not to mention, that who gets to define what "gender-specific clothing" is isn't really defined. I am *currently* wearing a men's belt from American Eagle because I liked it the best. What if I wore a "men's" tshirt because I liked the slogan? None of those relate to my sex-life AT ALL.

GAH, people can be so dumb sometimes. Thanks for writing about it!

Matthew C said...

I also enjoy the token plea to consider the small businesses. Obviously those big heartless corporations can afford to staff their stores with trannies and drag queens, but what about the little guy, who, with fewer resources and clients clearly needs to be able to make things harder by firing employees over stupid shit like this? Is the idea that the cosmopolitan effete who shop at, uh, American Eagle will accept a gender-non-conforming clerk, whereas the yokels need to be spared the horror of walking into their favorite Mom-n-Pop joint only to find Mom wearing Pop's overalls?

joe said...

Some of the yokels probably would try to make a point of having nothing to do with trans people (at least, of have nothing to do with trans people they are aware of). In theory the burden of this will fall most heavily on businesses with fewer clerks: The yokels can step over to the next register at Target if they deem that one employee bears insufficient resemblance to their "Moral Majority," but they can't do the same at some mostly mythical (because it usually wouldn't be profitable) Mom & Pop operation.

But none of that attenuated harm really holds a candle next to the public policy benefits of non-discrimination, so Mom and Pop will just have to find a viable business model, I say.