I’ve been away from WordPress all week, and today I have a lot of housecleaning to do. But I have just enough time in my day to give a few quick updates from my end. This past week marked one month since I took on my new work assignment. There was a little bit of a false start, and the work volume has seen its peaks and valleys, but I seem to have picked up on the tasks quite well. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my share of questions to ask. Matter of fact, most everyone on the team I’m assigned to, newbies and veterans alike, have their fair share questions. So, twice every day our team gathers to ask and answer those questions. Guidance and collaboration are pretty cool things in the professional life.
On the first Monday of every October, per law and tradition, the United States Supreme Court reconvenes after its summer recess and begins a new session of important cases. In every annual session, the Supremes listen to important arguments and make even more important decisions on laws and regulations that affect all of our lives. This coming Monday (October 7) will be no different. The Supremes will gather again, gavel the session to order, and entertain arguments in cases they agreed to hear.
The next day (October 8), the Supremes will hear not one but three cases involving LGBT+ rights, and whether an employer can fire or discriminate someone because of their sexual or gender identity. Germane to this post is one of those cases that, as The Guardian recently reported, will be “the first Supreme Court case involving the civil rights of transgender people,” as well as “the most important LGBTQ rights case” the high court has taken up since it ruled in favor of marriage equality in 2015.
The plaintiff is Aimee Stevens, who The Guardian describes as “modest, quietly spoken but full of steely resolve.” Until 2013, Stevens worked as a funeral home director in Michigan. By then, she had already begun transitioning to and identifying as female. When she came out as trans to her devoutly religious boss, she lost her job.
Rather than take 21 days of severance from the funeral home, and with it sign away any right to take legal action, Stevens took the funeral home to court. A series of lower court decisions ended with a victory for Stevens.
However, the funeral home boss, with backing of conservative groups as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, has appealed the case to the Supreme Court. As indicated in court documents, the boss fired Stevens because she “no longer wanted to represent himself as a man” and “wanted to dress as a woman,” leading to a “violation” of funeral home dress codes. A classic case of mis-gendering right there, not only on the part of Stevens’ ex-employer, but also the DOJ, who chose not to identify her by any gender pronouns in an August court filing.
The law involved here is Title VII of of the Civil Rights Act, which prevents people from being discriminated against on the basis of sex. Stevens’ lawyers argue that Title VII should also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual/gender identity. The boss’ backers argue that “redefining sex discrimination will cause problems in employment law,” and that “recognizing the rights of Stevens and other trans women will make cis-gender women unsafe.” That’s a bunch of hooey, of course: Lots of studies have proven that cis people are not endangered by trans-inclusive rules and policies.
For sure, the thought that a now conservative-leaning supreme court would rule in favor of anti-trans discrimination should make you worry. But as The Guardian notes in its article (again, here’s the link), cis-gender people could be adversely affected if the high court rules against Stevens. In 1989, the high court ruled against Price Waterhouse after it denied a partnership position to a women the company deemed “too aggressive” and “manly.” In other words, a ruling against Stevens would give employers carte blanche to discriminate against employees simply because said employees may not adhere to a prescribed stereotypical gender definition. That includes not just the plumbing downstairs, but also outward appearance and comportment.
So no matter who you are or how you identify, please pay close attention to the arguments on Tuesday in Aimee Stevens case at the Supreme Court. Lives and livelihoods will be on the line. So will respect and decency toward the entire LGBT+ community.
(Oh, and after you’ve read that Guardian article, please take time to listen to Aimee Stevens’ own words in this op-ed for Out magazine.)
As I’ve mentioned more than once on here, I’m one who loves to actually shop for clothes in person. That is, I actually like getting out of the house, going to the mall, perusing through the racks, and tell the clerk to [da-da-da duh da-daaah] “CHARGE IT!” when I find something that will have the right look and fit on me.
And for the longest time (well, at least the last decade), one of my favorite go-to stores has been here:
That is the West Towne Mall location of Forever 21. Founded as Fashion 21 in 1984, the chain has become in recent years one of the biggest names in the world of “fast fashion.” For those unfamiliar with that term, it applies to articles of clothing that are eye catching, perhaps resembling outfits seen only on the Paris catwalks, that a retailer will not only be priced reasonably but also be available for a limited time. In other words, create the product and generate the demand. Continue reading
The second week of my new current work assignment is in the books, and it got rather busy late in the week. Thankfully, the weekend is here, and I can relax, gather my thoughts, and rest up for the work week that’s to come.
Speaking of rest and work, I had a dream last night that at one point (from what I can recall) had me getting up from the cubicle where I’m spending my work assignment. But while I thought I was walking into the break room, instead I found myself on what appeared to be some sort a theater stage.
It’s the weekend, always a prime time to decompress from the work week just past, and recharge for the work week ahead. For me, this past week was a significant one, in that I started a brand new work assignment through a staffing agency. The assignment is at… well, uh uh, I’m not gonna tell you all. I need to let Male Mode Me have his anonymity and professional dignity secure.
While I await the next assignment in my professional livelihood (it begins on Tuesday), I want to share a couple of lessons I either learned or reminded myself of during the past couple of weeks:
Beauty is only skin deep. That’s a more succinct way of saying that that beautiful prince you want to make out with may really be an ugly frog in disguise. And when I mean “beautiful prince,” I mean a prospective job that may not be the best fit for you. In my last post, I alluded to an interview I had for a temp-to-hire position that, initially, I thought I had been a good fit for.
I’ve been away from WordPress for most of the past week and a half, and boy, has that time been eventful for me. As you may recall from my last post, the work assignment I had been a part of was drawing to a close, and that I was in need of looking for new work to do. I was already prepared that it would draw to a close. Well, sort of prepared. While I had already sent out feelers for new opportunities, I wasn’t yet mentally prepared to leave behind the organization, duties, and work environment I had gotten used to for 13 months.
Just over 14 months ago, I wound up having to go on a job search. No, it wasn’t fun not having employment to go to after almost 16 years. But it was enlightening in that it allowed me to understand the strengths I could provide to another employer, as well as some aspects I could improve upon.
Thankfully, that time between jobs was short. Matter of fact, one month to the day that my position was eliminated and I departed my employer of almost 16 years, I took a 7-day temporary assignment with a company on Madison’s east side. It would lead, just a couple of days later, to another temporary assignment. And while it was an assignment that could be confusing, frustrating, and overwhelming at times, I stuck with it. And stuck with it. And accepted the challenges it threw at me. I stuck with it so much that I’ve been there for 13 months.
It’s Labor Day weekend, meaning it’s time to start considering autumnal-appropriate clothing. Still, it’s always a good time to think about clothing normally well suited for the warmer months that (bummer) are about to leave us.
Earlier this year, I saw this photo on the New York & Company website.
First off, this is not a dress. No, really, the top and skirt, both of which come from NY & Co’s 7th Avenue line, match each other so perfectly. The wrap skirt is pleated fully and sits banded at the waist with a self-tie belt. The black background on both it and the top allows the floral patterns to really pop.
But if you pay attention, you’ll notice that emblazoned across the top is a message of certain import: “Speak Truth.” A great thing to think about at this time in our history, really. Speak truth about the person who you are. Speak truth about the world around you. Speak truth about how the people around you should care for others and our planet. Speak truth and show the world you’re not afraid to state your mind and take a stand for what you believe in.
Not to sound as if I”m bragging (I’m not), but I could see myself pairing these with sandy-colored hair and my best patent leather purse and run errands, do shopping, or just walk through the park on a beautiful and warm day (yes, such days will return). And when doing so, I’ll be making a statement — in more ways than one.