Interviews

Introduction:

For my interview, I chose four of my friends to answer five questions. They are all ranging of different backgrounds and identities. I interviewed each of them individually during their free time and made it so it would be a very casual, conversation like interview instead of something formal and slightly intimidating. The way the interview process went was I asked the question and wrote down their response as accurate as I could and then read it back to make sure they were okay with what I wrote. The website mentioned is lgbtqintheworkforce.wordpress.com.

Atkins: QPOC (Queer Person of Color) (They/them/theirs)

Bogle: Queer (She/her/hers, They/them/theirs)

Castro: Transgender Male (He/him/his)

Rivers: Cisgender and heterosexual (She/her/hers)

Questions:

  1. What do you feel when you hear that 28 states in the United States can legally fire an employee for their sexual orientation or gender identity?
  • Atkins: I’m honestly not surprised to be honest. I was actually expecting a higher number. How recent is that statistic? (Lopez: I want to say within the last five years. I have a website with that stats I can give you).
  • Bogle: 28 states? It’s less than I expected actually (laughs). It’s just frustrating because it’s one of those things where “it’s just the way it is” but at the same time you want to fight to change it.
  • Castro: It’s just sad. I mean, there’s more you can say but overall it’s sad. There are people in this country that can potentially be unemployed because of their orientation.
  • Rivers: Really? I had no idea Where are your sources? (Lopez: I have a website with hyperlinks to legitimate sources I can give you) Well damn. I’d say it’s just a shame. I mean, people getting fired for being gay or trans doesn’t seem like a legitimate reason to me.
  1. How do you think you would react if your employer were to fire you soon after you had come out to him about identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community?
  • Atkins: I’d be pissed as hell. I will do the angry black stereotype and go off. I’d be like “Uh, McScuse me!? I did not work my *ss off for this bullsh*t!” (Tries to be serious but ends up dying of laughter). Just kidding, but I would get pissed. Probably leave a bad review on all of their sites and tell everybody how horribly they can treat their employees.
  • Bogle: Probably say “F*ck you” and leave. I wouldn’t want to be civil to a place that would discriminate against a person’s identity.
  • Castro: Could I sue them? (Lopez: You could but the chances of it making it through court is slim) Well that sucks (laughs) but I would still try.
  • Rivers: I don’t really know. I identify as heterosexual and a cis person. I guess I would be upset, but I honestly don’t know what I would be able to do.
  1. Why do you think being a part of the LGBTQ+ community is an issue when working? What are some examples of why people would be concerned?
  • Atkins: I could easily see it as just fearing what they don’t know or understand. Someone who isn’t involved in the LGBTQ+ community whether as someone who identifies in the community or an ally, you really can’t understand it.
  • Bogle: I’m guessing it has to do with all of the stigmas with the LGBTQ+ community. All gay people having AIDS or some type of STD, people within the community always ready to argue about their equal rights, that constant fear hetero-CIS people have that people in the queer community want to sleep with them when there are clearly better looking and nicer people obviously (Laughs) (Lopez: How would that involve the work place?) Customers might have an issue with a queer person touching their food, and complain to the manager and since “the customer is always right” they employer might let that person go.
  • Castro: People believing stereotypes. (Lopez: Like what?) People of the community being horny all the time and wanting to date everyone they see. I can also see employers themselves not having a problem with their employees orientation but still fire or not hire them because they don’t want to deal with the repercussions of having the customers complain about it. (Lopez: How would the customers know though?) Not sure. But there can always be an incident where you’re outed
  • Rivers: Honestly, I’m just picturing old people still stuck in their ways and just fearing queer people.
  1. Why do you believe it is harder to enlist a gender identity and sexual orientation nondiscrimination law than an anti-racist nondiscrimination law?
  • Atkins: Things like race and ethnicity can be considered the majority of the minority. Does that make sense? (Laughs) (Lopez: Something like race and ethnicity is experienced by more people than their gender identity and sexual orientation?) Yeah, there you go (laughs).
  • Bogle: Probably because people find it harder to defend a person’s ethnicity, something that is so deeply rooted in them, than their orientation and identity because there hasn’t been a cold hard reason for a person to be gay or non-binary.
  • Castro: Um…I’m honestly not sure (laughs) I hadn’t thought about that actually. I guess maybe because it is a person’s personal identity that they choose that people don’t like.
  • Rivers: I think it’s because with race and ethnicity there’s more of a strong population behind it. Say like if a girl was discriminated at work for being Salvadorian,  there would be a set community of Salvadorians to be able to support and back her up. But, if she was a trans woman, the support system is a lot weaker. You get what I’m saying? I’m trying to phrase this correctly (laughs while making exaggerated hand movements) (Lopez: You good, I’m following you)
  1. Was there a time you were discriminated against in a place of employment (be it as an employee or a customer) and if so, what was going through your mind when it happened?
  • Atkins: Once when I went to get my hair done, the stylist was just chatting with me about random things, you know like most stylists do. At the time I was dating a person that identified as female. When she asked if I had a boyfriend, I told her that I had a girlfriend. Then she stated in this really mean tone “you a lesbian?” Thinking back on it, it might have been easier to say yes but instead I explained to her how I’m pansexual and then told her how I don’t identify as female. She didn’t talk as much after that, only to ask questions about how I wanted my hair.
  • Bogle: It wasn’t really discrimination. I was telling my coworkers about how I’m involved with the queer community club on campus and they asked why. I told them “Because I’m queer as f*ck”. They were just all surprised that I wasn’t straight I guess (laughs). They didn’t say much and so far I still have my job.
  • Castro: When I was applying to a place back in my hometown, I had no idea what to put down for my gender. I asked one of the people working there and she just gave me this look after I told her I was trans. She told me to just put my “actual gender” to avoid confusion. I put down a phony number and email and left.
  • Rivers: Nope. I’ve only ever worked on campus and volunteered at camps so I don’t think there would be a chance that would happen since we have things like Title IX and that a person’s identity is highly valued here.
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Who is Blocking the Path

Introduction:

Discrimination in workplaces has been a common problem throughout the U.S. for a number of years. While there has been some improvement with other points of discrimination in the workplace (racial, mental health, religion, e.t.c.), there is still work to do for people that identify in the LGBTQ+ community. Organizations as well as employers hold different opinions on how to handle the discrimination across the board. The people that are preventing this non-discrimination law from happening are people that control the State law affairs and people from the judicial branch. In addition, people that hold the highest power in the job area (supervisors, CEOs, e.t.c.) further promote the silence of harassment against LGBTQ+ in the workplace.

A Skip in the Right Direction: 

In the academic journal “Debating LGBT Workplace Protections in the Bible Belt: Social Identities in Legislative and Media Discourse” by Claire Rhodes and Craig Stewart, they discuss how the city council of Memphis played a part in promoting a non-discrimination ordinance to the city’s employment. This itself is a huge milestone considering Memphis, Tennessee is in the heart of the “Bible Belt”. The “Bible Belt” is considered to be the areas of the southern and midwestern US and western Canada where Protestant fundamentalism is widely practiced. Rhodes and Stewart explain how “This milestone was achieved only after a great deal of debate centered on the question of whether LGBT identities are equivalent to identity categories based on race, gender, or religious belief” (Debating LGBT Workplace Protections in the Bible Belt) which leads the reader to believe that because the majority of a council saw the LGBTQ+ community as a lesser minority, they weren’t convinced that it deserved to even be considered discrimination.

There was also mention of “the purpose of the present study [was] to uncover how these identities were constructed and contested at city council meetings and in the news media using an intergroup communication framework” (Debating LGBT Workplace Protections in the Bible Belt) which brings up the use of media and how they frame certain aspects of the debate in the council to appeal to specific audience members.

Example Studies:

In his study “The Sound of Silence. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Discrimination in ‘Inclusive Organizations” by Vincenza Priola, he explains that “[this] study examines how organizations, which have an ethos focused on inclusion and mainly employ workers from specific social minority groups, manage the inclusion of LGBT workers” (The Sound of Silence). While the organizations are not named for privacy purposes, according to her study, there are quite a few organizations that have certain forms of discrimination. For example, in a particular organization, the heads of it had decided it best to keep quiet about the harassment going on within their workplace. Two female coworkers had been having an affair with each other and received backlash from the other coworkers. When brought to the boss’ attention, the solution was to act silent in order to  “[justify] the organizational silence as respect and lack of intrusiveness” (The Sound of Silence) which did nothing to help the two workers being harassed.

Financial Aspect:

In my research, while I was not able to find who controls the financial part about why this discrimination is happening, there is a lot of evidence of authoritative representatives dismissing LGBTQ+ discrimination based on personal choices and choosing not to address the situation. It’s not that surprising when you think about it, considering the LGBTQ+ community has been making headway for equality during the past ten years and the people standing in the way of that equality are older people that grew up in a more conservative society and are deeply set in their ways and opinions about certain minority groups. While that reason is understandable, the downside is of course, people part of the LGBTQ+ community are not being treated equally in the workplaces as well as these issues never being properly addressed in order to help stop the discrimination. 

Final Thoughts:

In conclusion, while there are some communities trying to accept LGBTQ+ in the workforce, there are many others that do not consider the discrimination LGBTQ+ faces as valid discrimination. Keeping silent and not wanting to address the situation furthers the issues that LGBTQ+ faces in their jobs. The frustrating part of it all is that it is only the personal opinion of the majority choosing not to accept the minority that furthers the discrimination.

 

 

Works Cited

Priola, Vincenza, Diego Lasio, Silvia De Simone, and Francesco Serri. “The Sound of Silence. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Discrimination in ‘Inclusive Organizations’.” British Journal of Management, 25.3 (2014): 488.

Rhodes, Claire D, and Craig O Stewart. “Debating LGBT Workplace Protections in the Bible Belt: Social Identities in Legislative and Media Discourse.” Journal of Homosexuality, 63.7 (2016): 904-924.

Evaluating Jeffery Stewart and his Law Firm Post

Author: The author’s name, Jeffery Stewart, is listed on the page, however it takes a little time to dig around to see exactly who he is. When the reader finds it after clicking a few links, it lists his credentials and what makes him an exemplary man of law and why his firm would be the ideal one a person should choose. Unfortunately, none of these credentials cover him being a specialist in defending the LGBTQ+ community nor having any personal experience with the community, giving the impression to the reader that he is only trying to sell his law firm to anyone. There is no direct contact information to Stewart, but there are links to the law firm’s social media pages as a widget to send emails to them.

Purpose: The purpose of his post was to make his law firm seem LGBTQ+ friendly, which in itself isn’t a bad thing. The only downside is that a law firm that does not specialize in LGBTQ+ cases could potentially jeopardize a case. His audience is mostly intended for the LGBTQ+ but it can also stretch to just an audience in general to kind of show the type of work the law firm is willing to work for. Those not involved in the LGBTQ+ community more than likely brush it off as a firm that is open to help what they might consider a minority. Those who are involved in the community however, would be able to see a bit clearer that just because the firm is willing to help represent them in terms of law does not mean that they are able to do a thorough and well versed job at it.

Objectivity: Steward uses a combination of neutral and pro-LGBTQ+ in his post. By doing this, he comes off as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community without giving the impression that he is extremely passionate about helping the community and to not falsely advertise that he has had first had experience with defending the LGBTQ+ community before. He is only promoting this in order to help his firm get more clients resulting in more cases and more income. In turn, the reader can easily see that this post is only existing to make his law firm seem accepting of all people.

Accuracy: Stewart uses sources like the Supreme Court, President Obama and Congress to give his post a more political field. It would make his post stronger if he had cited where he received his information from. There are no citations or hyperlinks that back up his facts used in his article nor a type of works cited or bibliography page. It’s more of a shameless self promotional post if anything, since he also writes in the post “ If you are a resident of Michigan and feel you are being discriminated against by your employer – for any reason – contact the experienced lawyers at Seikaly Stewart at 866-671-8115 and learn your rights.” (Stewart). 

Reliability and Credibility: As stated in the Accuracy subtopic, Stewart does not cite any of his sources, even though they are claimed to be political sources. It may be that he is counting on the fact that because he is closely familiar with the law that people will believe him automatically if he sprinkles in some political terms and statistics without needing to cite where he received that information from. This mindset in itself lowers his credibility since he only beats around the bush about the topics he does know about and doesn’t want to imply how far his knowledge goes.

Currency: This article was created December 2, 2013 and has no indication of whether or not it has been updated. In a sense, the firm does keep up with the times and current events, however for this specific topic, it’s not a priority to keep it up to date.

Links: There are no links to any of Stewart’s quotes and statistics bringing his credibility down even more so. The pure fact that there is no evidence behind his statements reeks of this post being an unreliable source.

Conclusion: At first glance, it looks well made as a whole. Paragraphs are short and easy to read through, the website is user friendly, all contact information is available and it has all of these “facts” from seemingly legitimate sources. With that being said, there are no citations to Stewart’s statistics nor does it say anywhere what makes him or his team qualified or seemingly skilled in defending the LGBTQ+ community. This post is more of a promotional page to get their law firm out in the public and to attract more clients.

 

Works Cited:

Stewart, Jeffrey. “Workplace Discrimination Against LGBT Protected by ENDA Passed by Senate.” Seikaly, Stewart & Bennett. N.p., 02 Dec. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

Guilty of Inspiration: Rhetorical Strategies in Sontag’s “Once a Pariah, Now a Judge: The Early Transgender Journey of Phyllis Frye”

Introduction:

The seventies in the United States was commonly known for its music, art, “sticking it to the man” and self expression. Revolutions and riots would hit the streets concerning the environment, war and equality currently happening. One individual was in the process of coming to the conclusion that she was ready to enter and potentially influence a nation. “Once a Pariah, Now a Judge: The Early Transgender Journey of Phyllis Frye” by Deborah Sontag is an interview article from the New York Times that takes its audience on a journey through the early stages of Phyllis Frye. Here one can glimpse at her struggles and victories with her identity and promotions of equal rights for people who identify as transgendered.

Sontag utilizes mostly pathos in her article to bring the audience a little bit closer to understanding why Phyllis Frye is an iconic figure for more reasons than being the first openly transgender judge. Sontag highlights the fact that “mainstream gay rights groups did not initially embrace the transgender cause as their own” (Sontag) which meant that Frye received even less support from the, at the time, LGBT community to help with her particular discrimination. There were also the reactions that Frye received from some of her closest friends and relatives about her decision such as her former director of the Singing Cadets wrote to her ““I am not able to emotionally or intellectually accept you as Phyllis” and “…Phil (Fish) Frye, the guy we knew, is welcome to join us. However Phyllis Frye is a stranger to us…” (Sontag).

Grandmother of the Movement

The article begins by talking about a couple of Frye’s struggles after coming out as a woman such as, “forced to resign from the military for ‘sexual deviation’…disowned by [her] parents, divorced by [her] first wife and separated from [her] son…[and] dismissed from several engineering jobs” (Sontag, NY Times). From there, Sontag delves more into how Frye becomes an icon for those who identified as transgender and discusses how she started to become involved in getting equality by speaking at universities and fighting for laws to be altered to accommodate her transgender community. She was even given the title “…Grandmother of [the] movement” (Sontag, NY Times) regarding the fight for transgender rights.

Frye’s victories certainly do not go unnoticed in this interview. Because of her determination and generosity to organize conferences and gatherings of other transgender people, she became one of the sole individuals that introduced transgender activists to one another to discuss what they can actually do to gain the equality they rightfully deserve. In addition, because she graduated from law school, Frye was even able to aid in drafting the International Bill of Gender Rights and was able to fight at generally the same level as any other law person because of her qualifications.

Another benefit she acquired with her law degree was her “increasingly representing transgender clients in name-change and discrimination cases, merging her political and professional work” (Sontag) and helping promote transgender awareness on the political side. The intersectionality that she has obtained gives her more power than any other person of law when representing people who are transgender. Not only can she speak from the heart about her cases, she can also skillfully back up her cases with the legal practices she has worked so hard to complete on her own.

Sontag’s Drawbacks:

While the article as a whole is well written, there are a few points in Sontag’s writing that can rub a person the wrong way. An example would be when Sontag refers to Frye before her transition and uses he/him/his pronouns. It is understandable that a person that isn’t familiar with gender identity might misgender someone when speaking about them before they found their identity. However, it is viewed as an invalidation to the person’s identity when doing that. Because of this, Sontag’s use of ethos is incredibly weak. Since then, Sontag has written a few more articles relating to people who are transgender and has made improvements in properly identifying people of the transgender community.

Conclusion:

Sontag’s interview with Phyllis Frye effectively narrates the struggles and victories she had to face as well as touch on topics that are still an issue in the present time. By informing the readers about the hardships of being a minority in the minority, Sontag is able to communicate through Frye’s background story that a person is only as weak as they themselves believe and not by what other people believe. Because of Sontag’s interview, transgender youths can put a name to the person that started enforcing their rights.

 

Works Cited:

Sontag, Deborah. “Once a Pariah, Now a Judge: The Early Transgender Journey of Phyllis Frye.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 Aug. 2015. Web. 03 Oct. 2016.

Discrimination Against LGBTQ+ in the Work Force Topic Proposal

Discrimination against LGBTQ+ in the Work Force:

Some would consider legalized same sex marriage to be a huge step towards equality and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. As simple and as hopeful as that sounds, in reality there is still a long way to go to achieve that equality. A law needs to be passed in order to protect people that identify as LGBTQ+ from being fired from their job. Even with marriage equality throughout all 50 states, 28 of those states do not protect against discrimination of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. As someone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community and strongly believes in equality for all, I can only hope that this piece can reach out to people that are unaware of this act of discrimination and inform them of an issue that can potentially affect those close to them.

 

Call Outs:

Incidents have occurred where customers as well as coworkers would not enter an establishment or harass an employee that identified in the LGBTQ+ community while they were working. In media a scenario is portrayed in the HBO series, True Blood, where an openly gay black man who works as a chef, gets the food that he prepared brought back to the kitchen because the burger could be contaminated. But that is just fiction and is not a truly credible source. A real occurrence happened in Missouri where an employee, James Pittman, was called a “cocksucker” for being gay by his coworkers and the court dismissed the case like it was for a young Caucasian male who was a promising swimmer. Another incident involved Briteny Austin who, when she began to present as a female in her workplace, experienced “a hostile work environment, including hurtful epithets and intentionally using the wrong gender pro­nouns to refer to her”. Just imagine what it feels like for someone to purposefully invalidate your identity because they don’t agree with your choice or choose to not understand your choice.

There have been multiple reports on news and social media about couples that were just married to their same sex partner be coincidentally fired or let go with vague reasons such as unmet performance quota. Toni G. Atkins, author of “It’s Time to End Discrimination in the Workplace” highlights from her research that “21 percent of LGBT employees still report some form of workplace discrimination” (Atkins).  Her source conducted a study of workplace discrimination in 2014 and how much of it actually goes on and does not get shown or reported to the public to the public. Here, Obama addresses the issue with a full frontal affect and directs the attention onto the discriminatory behaviors practiced and the actions that are not being taken to prevent further occurences.

Most employers associate the non-discriminatory law with just race and ethnicity and not gender identity or sexual orientation. There are no distinguished laws that protect someone that does not identify as cisgender or heterosexual. The basic human right laws are danced around and not taken seriously when the issue does not seem to pose any threat for law involvement. Jobs should not have to be discriminatory to a person’s personal identity considering those that live in the United States need a somewhat stable income in order to get by.

Many U.S. citizens are boasting about equal rights spread across the board. Some representatives make good points to further evolve that equality goal and others make obscure demands that potentially furthers the segregation. Just because I identify as LGBTQ+, does not mean I agree with everything the community might say. This blog is not promoting something that just personally affects the LGBTQ+ community. This blog is promoting a basic human necessity in order to survive and how irrational it is to not allow a person to work for their daily bread and to pay bills that most citizens pays.

 

Currency is Still Needed

Hunger in the states has been a hot button issue regarding low income families. In the article, “A Hunger Crisis in the L.G.B.T. Community“, Roni Caryn Rabin addresses that “A new report on hunger found that more than four LGBTQ+  adults could not afford to feed themselves or their families at least once in the past year” (Caryn). This relates back to the LGBTQ+ community and how discrimination in the workforce has affected them so much that they can barely make an income to survive on. The hegemony that is being re-purposed is hurting a community of minorities and forcing them to work double that of any other citizen just to even get a job. A comparison from a migrant worker and LGBTQ+ employee is the fact that an employer can pay a migrant worker less and threaten to put them at risk with immigration but not an LGBTQ+ worker considering they cannot push those stigmas onto them. So instead, employers fire the employees without much notice or even a second glance.

 

Intersectionality is the new Black and White

Let’s talk intersectionality. LGBTQ+ workers are minimized due to their gender identity and sexual orientation. Now, how about an LGBTQ+ person of color? Due to pure fate, a person is now given even less of a chance for keeping or getting a job for their race as well as their orientation. With the way cis-hetero normativity works in the 21st century, heterosexual Caucasian cis-males are seen as the top hierarchy and heterosexual Caucasian cis-women are below them. Here is where things get a bit tricky. A man of color would have more of a chance at being hired than a white woman because they are men. However, a woman of color has less of a chance to get a job than a male person of color and a white woman. She is then considered even less of status if she identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community. This marginalization that has been taught through society has greatly impacted these, for lack of a better term, minorities of the minorities.