Rebecca Juro

A Learning Experience In Workplace Diversity

Filed By Rebecca Juro | October 24, 2008 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: transgender workers, workplace discrimination

That's the way I'm trying to look at it anyway.

Last Friday, I was fired from my job. This was, unfortunately, not a surprise. I'd known for some time by then that I wasn't a management favorite and that fact was going to negatively impact my chances for promotion. It wasn't that I was actively disliked personally (at least I don't think so) but I do think management was scared shitless of me for reasons that had nothing to do with my job performance.

Best Buy, the company I'd worked for since March, hired me almost immediately when I applied. Why not? They were getting almost 30 years of retail industry skills and experience for an entry level pay rate. The problem came in when I watched as employees less than half my age and with not even 1/10th of my skills and experience were repeatedly promoted over me. Finally, after the third time in a row I'd been passed over for a promotion in favor of someone far less qualified, I said something. I went to my direct supervisor and asked him why I was not being seriously considered for promotion. This, as you might expect, was not well received. He didn't say it in so many words, but his attitude seemed to indicate to me that he believed that I should just shut up and be happy in whatever position they put me in because I should be grateful they chose to hire me at all. Since I didn't get a real answer from my boss to my question, I decided to try to use other means to get my answer.

Doing my own investigation into the matter, I discovered that this was a common management practice at Best Buys in general and it wasn't really about me, my years of experience, or my skills. What was apparently going on was that when a new position opened up in our store management would decide for themselves who they wanted in that position and then use their authority to disqualify other viable applicants such as myself from being seriously considered for the position.

I watched the woman who preceded me in my position get promoted twice, despite the fact that her customer service ratings in that position weren't even close to mine. While she certainly has the skills to do the job, I also believe she was promoted over me and other qualified applicants mainly because of one skill none of the rest of the applicants (that I know of) could match her in: She was (and still is as far as I know) a major league management ass-kisser.

That was only part of the story, though. Because her ass-kissing was so blatant, so far in excess of anyone else in the store I knew of, what I'd learned really only told me why I wasn't chosen over this particular woman for those particular jobs. The real answer I was looking for was the one that dealt with me directly, the one that explained why I'd not only been passed over for the jobs this woman got, but why I continued to be passed over for other positions as they opened up. After a time, I believe I discovered that answer as well. This one hit closer to home, but it not only explained why I continued to be passed over for promotion but it fit the facts and my own experience as neatly as the final piece in a jigsaw puzzle.

Best Buy is by no means the first company I've worked for that will happily hire a transsexual woman to run one of their cash registers or work in another entry level position, but would put on the brakes when asked to consider promoting one of us above that level. While Best Buy as a company is far too large to presume that all of the management teams in its 850-something stores operate this way, it became quite clear that at least in the store I worked in there's a glass ceiling for transwomen, that Best Buy embraces diversity but only to a point. If you're a transwoman, they'll hire you and put you to work, but don't expect to considered a viable candidate for promotion, no matter how skilled or experienced you are. They want nice, normal-looking, acceptably diverse (read: race, ethnicity, sexual orientation) management and supervisory candidates and on that score, most transwomen just don't qualify and never will.

Granted all this is my own personal opinion, but I think the facts support it quite neatly. It was when I realized that the very same things I'd done successfully at other companies to prove myself and make myself a viable candidate for promotion just weren't working at Best Buy that I started to get suspicious in the first place. The attitudes and policies of various companies can and do vary widely, but there are at least a few expected constants, one of which is that you'll be judged solely on your abilities and work performance when being considered for a promotion. I don't believe that happened here.

I can make these kinds of strong statements because the evidence so clearly points to one, and only one, conclusion. As an example, one person promoted above me was less than half my age and had absolutely zero experience in the department he was to work in as a supervisor. Conversely, I had extensive experience in that department at Best Buy and at other stores, and was fully trained and well-experienced in all of the duties the job required.

The person who was chosen for the job is a good kid. In fact, had I been the manager making that choice (and not also considering someone with my resume for the position) I'd have made the same choice. Nevertheless, I can't forget we're talking about someone who was still in diapers when I was in my first retail management position, and someone who had never even worked in the department he was to supervise nor had any experience in most, if not all, of the duties the position entailed.

The one inescapable conclusion with these kinds of blatant disparities at play is clear: My superior skills and training didn't matter nor did my decades of experience when I was being considered for promotion at Best Buy. The other candidates for this promotion (I knew them all), as well as others I was potentially up for, did not, could not possibly, have possessed the level of qualification for these positions that I do, yet I was passed over anyway.

When I started asking questions, things got worse. Suddenly, I found myself being written up (having a disciplinary notice placed in my file) for the pettiest of infractions, such as having a bag of candy in my pocket or for saying something innocently that would later, sometimes even weeks or months later, be turned into a reason to write me up for misbehavior. These were the kinds of things that few if any other employees were ever written up for as far as I can tell, but eventually it got to the point where this sort of thing was so frequent that when they'd call me into the office my first thought was always what I'd be written up for this time as I rarely had any idea what the write-up excuse du jour would be until they told me.

Finally, I went to the company's Human Resources Department about the issue, only to discover after about a month of trying to resolve things through that route that not only wasn't HR going to help me, but they were actually an outsourced company, not even an actual part of Best Buy, and had no authority whatsoever to effect positive change in any way within Best Buy itself.

At this point, I had a choice to make. I could just drop the whole thing, keep my mouth shut, and just forget about ever being promoted, or I could keep fighting it out and take the next step, escalation to the District Manager. After long and hard consideration, I decided to fight for my job and for my legally-protected right to be judged based on the same basis as everyone else.

In retrospect, this was a mistake. Just as those making the decisions at my store weren't really interested in playing fair, so too did I discover that this attitude was also prevalent further up the ranks. The District Manager talked a great line, but within a few weeks of the time I'd brought this to his attention and discussed it with him, it became clear that I wasn't going to get any help there either. Once I knew that, I also understood that my time at Best Buy was limited at best because my store's management team was going to be able to do whatever they wanted to do with no interference from corporate.

By the middle of last week, I was making predictions as to when they'd finally can me. I'd read the writing on the wall and knew it was only a matter of time, probably no more than days, before they found something to justify my firing, at least in their minds anyway. Early that week, I'd gotten a call from HR in which I heard that I'd basically been accused of physically threatening a manager, a man at least a full seven or eight inches taller than myself. I denied it, of course; it wasn't true. The manager who claimed I'd done this had been my direct supervisor and made my life hell for about four and a half months, but no one seemed interested in questioning his integrity or veracity in making this accusation (or others he'd made previously...this had not been the first time there had been ample reason to question his credibility), only in whether I would admit to the charge.

By the end of that phone call, I knew what was going on and what was about to happen, that I was being set up to be fired and the company was trying to protect itself from a lawsuit and/or perhaps from having to pay my unemployment benefits by gathering "evidence" of misbehavior to use against me should they need it later. I'd been down this road before and knew it well enough to recognize the signposts. At this point, there was really nothing left for me to do except to wait for the axe to fall.

And fall it did, six days ago. It's taken me that long to compose my thoughts on this before putting them down in print. I guess the lesson I've learned here is one that after almost 30 years in this industry I should have remembered and kept in mind going into my time with Best Buy: Go with the evidence of your eyes and ears, not what you're told by the company.

I made the mistake of fully buying into the corporate rhetoric I was fed when I was hired: that Best Buy was committed to diversity, that there was opportunity for advancement available for those who seek it (and there is, just not for someone like me), that I could depend on the company and the resources it provides to make sure that I'd get as fair a shake as any other employee. What I discovered, much to my disappointment, was that for all their diversity-promoting corporate rhetoric Best Buy is really no different from most of the companies I've worked for since transitioning, the kind of company that talks a great line at the corporate level but looks the other way when this kind of thing goes on at the ground level, far away from the shiny corporate ivory towers where the inclusive diversity rhetoric flows so freely.

It's my own fault really. I'd heard Best Buy was a great company to work for before I applied. I checked them out online and read much the same things. I accepted those assertions as fact and operated on the premise that all I had to do to be successful at Best Buy was to demonstrate that I was qualified, competent, and conscientious to be considered a viable candidate for promotion. I made the same key mistake so many of us do, presuming that a state law on the books protecting me from discrimination in hiring would also protect me from discrimination in being considered for promotion as well, as it was intended to. Clearly, it didn't work out that way.

Could I pursue this legally? Sure I could; what they did here (assuming I could prove my case in court) is against New Jersey's state anti-discrimination law. As many of us have discovered, however, knowing the law has been violated is one thing, proving it to the satisfaction of a judge or jury can be quite another. Add to that the expense of even exploring the possibility of taking this to court, and I'm already pretty sure that it's just not worth it for a low-paying entry-level job at an electronics store.

That said, I do have a couple of calls in to people who hopefully will be able to tell me exactly what my options are here and if it's worth making the effort to continue to pursue this. At this point, unless I hear something unforeseen that totally changes my opinion here, I fully expect that probably the best thing for me to do right now is move on, find another job and make the same kind of effort as I did with Best Buy to prove myself, hopefully with a more receptive audience next time.

And I know some of you are wondering, so I'll just address it directly: Was I the perfect employee? No, not hardly, but then I don't know who is. I'm not even sure there is such a thing. I do think I was at least as good at my job as most of the store's employees are at theirs, significantly better than at least some, and this was backed up by the perceptions of my co-workers to a large extent. I wasn't happy in my position, but I was quite good at my job. In fact, I never really had a problem at Best Buy with any non-manager which came to be seen as significant based upon anything other than the opinion of management.

Things that I never gave a second thought to when they occurred because they seemed so insignificant at the time suddenly became major issues weeks or even months later when I'd find myself written up for them. These were things I'd never heard of any other employee being written up for or even questioned about, and in some cases I even personally witnessed employees doing exactly the same things with impunity which I'd been disciplined for right in front of the very same managers who had written me up for those infractions.

In the end, none of it mattered. It didn't matter whether or not I was right and they were wrong. It didn't matter that there's a law on the books that's supposed to protect people like me from being treated this way in the workplace. I didn't matter that I'd proven myself competent and capable. In fact, I strongly suspect that my resume and work record, as solid as it is, was just further motivation for them to find more reasons to justify passing me over for promotion in favor of more normal-seeming candidates. They couldn't find that justification in my work record, so they manufactured it in the form of disciplinary notices, just as other companies I've worked for have done when trying to protect themselves from charges of discrimination as they prepared to fire me. Were there a few that were justified? Sure, but I know of at least one manager with more legitimate write-ups than I had and they certainly didn't get in the way of his promotion to management.

And so, I move on. As I look for and eventually find myself a new job, however, there's one lesson from my experience with Best Buy I'll carry with me: For a transperson, and especially a transwoman, getting hired is only part of the struggle. The far more significant part is getting treated fairly once you're already employed, being able to enjoy the same opportunities and chances for promotion that non-trans employees do and being judged by the same measures.

In my estimation, Best Buy fails that test, despite all the inclusive rhetoric they like to spout and which the Human Rights Campaign happily laps up like a thirsty dog when assigning ratings in its Corporate Equality Index. When corporate higher-ups talk a good line about diversity for public consumption but then look the other way as illegal discrimination is practiced under their banner at the ground level there needs to be accountability.

While this isn't being written as an attack piece on HRC, since they do publish the widely-accepted CEI I believe they do have a certain responsibility to look beyond the corporate diversity rhetoric and take into account actual ground-level experiences like mine when determining the ratings of these employers. Perhaps if this kind of thing could actually cost a company points on its CEI score we'd see companies like Best Buy making more of an effort to ensure that their publicly-touted diversity principles are actually put into practice when and where they really matter.

What disappoints me most of all here is the lack of honesty. While Best Buy as a company may seem pretty open, accepting, and above-board to the casual observer, once you actually work for them and understand how their system works, you also understand that Best Buy's real commitment to diversity is limited to only those kinds of difference which seem the most normal and accepted for anyone looking to move up in the ranks, or at least that's how it is at the store I worked at.

While I hesitate to tar every Best Buy store management team with that brush, I also know that this kind of thing can't happen as easily as it did to me without Best Buy corporate allowing it to happen, whether by actively facilitating it or by turning a blind eye when they're made aware of it. Their excuses for not promoting me were manifold, the valid and verifiable reasons not so much.

What happens next? Who's to say? At this point, I'm focusing on finding myself a new job and not much else (another reason why it took me six days to write this), but a lot will depend on what I hear from those far better skilled in taking on these issues legally than I am.

There's one last thing I want to say on this topic, at least for now. Despite all the problems I endured while I worked for them, I liked working for Best Buy. With one or two notable exceptions, I like the people I worked with. I liked the atmosphere. I brought a lot of enthusiasm to that job because it was a place where I believed that my skills and my experience would enable me to succeed, that in the end it was all up to me and how much I was willing to put into it. Yeah, I bought that company line, hook, line, and sinker, so I guess it isn't so surprising that I was totally unprepared for Best Buy to be no different from any of the other companies I've worked for since transitioning. My biggest mistake wasn't in making the effort to be successful there, it was in accepting the Best Buy corporate rhetoric as anything more than just that, in believing that Best Buy was a different, more progressive kind of company than those I'd worked for in the past.

They say you learn something new every day, and I believe that's true. Thing is, sometimes you learn things that you wish you'd known before, back when they'd have still been useful. This was not my first encounter with the glass ceiling so many transwomen bump up against in the working world and it probably won't be my last. Still, I'll take the lessons learned here and apply them next time. In the end, knowing what I know now will only make it that much less likely that it'll happen again, or at least, that when and if it does happen again I'll be that much more ready for it and able to see it coming that much sooner.

When you get right down to it, given the realities of being a working transwoman, that's about all I, or any of us, can reasonably hope for.


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I'm so sorry to hear about this Rebecca. It's disheartening to hear about the gap between the corporate rhetoric, the law and the reality on the ground. I hope you find something much better soon. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

You story sounds very, very familiar to me. I worked as a paralegal at a class action law firm and interviewed hundreds of Best Buy employees who had been discriminated against because of their race or their gender -- they were paid less, they were passed over for promotion, their hours were cut, and they were disproportionately punished for minor offenses. Everything pointed to it being systematic within the company, not the case of a 'few bad apples.'

I left the firm a while ago, but I'm certain the case is still going on. This won't help your current situation, but you should consider contacting them -- https://www.bbdiscrimination.com/websys94.pl?wsi=0&websys_screen=public_home. I'm not sure what the case would be regarding transgender-related charges, but it would be worth further exploration.

I'm sorry you lost your job. Best of luck out there.

Rebecca,

Please do not blame yourself. Blame accomplishes little and fails to address the real problem, you're out of a job because others are willing to crush you for being who you are. We often believe mistakenly that systems are put in place to protect us; however, that is rarely the case.

We need a new paradigm. If I ever get my own company off the ground, if you have the skills I need I would hire you gladly. I'm essentially trying to build a non-profit that really helps people in severe need, through skills training, and advanced schooling opportunities normally denied to the oppressed.

It's still being worked out, but, who knows? The gay community turns on it's own just as easy as any public entity. Remember that it's about control, which is very hard let go of.

I used to work for an HIV/AIDS agency and we interviewed this person, who was qualified and transgender. The Director of F&A sat in, when the interviewee left, she said to me, "If she's going to look like that, she could at least be pretty."

I have to admit it took a degree of effort to avoid responding to the woman who could destroy my life in a fell swoop. However, I make a promise that every time I see this kind of behavior I will stand up when I can do so without killing myself in the process (for then, what good and I, check out my blog and you'll see why I really for you; I know the dangers of challenging systems.

I know palliatives won't take this pain away; action and justice will. Perhaps you'd be willing to talk and give me your ideas about what change would look like for you?

Good luck on the job search, Rebecca. It always sucks to lose your job. :(

This sounds almost identical to the experience a friend of mine had. She had worked for a company pre-transition and given several promotions in a very small period of time and was headed up the ladder quickly. She took a year off to go to school and transition, and when she came back they were only willing to offer her an entry level position.

She dealt with pretty regular sexual harasment, including a coworker who said "I'd fuck you if you had bigger tits." But management never expressed a problem with her. Until she complained.

She asked HR if they could look into trans-inclusive health insurance, and by the end of the day she was told a firm and strong "No."

Then she was written up for the most ridiculous things, including things she had gotten explicit permission to do, she went to HR for support, and in what appeared to be retaliation she was sent home for the day. Eventually, she felt she had no choice but to quit and look for a job elsewhere.

Rebecca, this sucks. I hope you can find a better job with people who aren't such jerks.
I'm trans and I'm lucky to have had good jobs both during and post transition. Even so I have felt that there is a glass ceiling. Would my employer be comfortable promoting me to management? I don't know, I wonder.
I also wonder if you were being discriminated against for being overqualified. Some managers are threatened by people who are overqualified because you may question management decisions (instead of being a "team player" and "fitting in").

Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

Megan I checked out that site and got quite a sense of deja vu. Thanks for the lead. It's not surprising, but it is good to know that my experience is apparently hardly an isolated incident.

FORGE, I'd be happy to discuss my ideas on this with you. As you might imagine, I've given these issues a lot of thought. I checked out the site linked through your post, but I didn't see anything that tells me which of the five organizers listed you are. Let me know and I'll get in touch, or just drop me an email at: beckygrrl@optonline.net and we can work from there.

Vivian, you may well have a point. The fact is that I was overqualified for most of the jobs that became available while I was there, which is a big reason why seeing kids in their early 20's with little or no relevant skills and experience promoted over me was such an issue for me.

Also, I did question management decisions, but not in a challenging way usually. Most often, it was along the lines of "I don't understand why you're doing this, please explain.". In that I was hardly alone, but did they feel threatened by me? I dunno...that wasn't the vibe I got. It was more along the lines just trying to keep me "out of the loop" as much as possible and away from the possibility of promotion. As far as I can tell they were happy with my work, just not with my desire to be promoted out of that position.

Sweet Sister,
I hurt with you. The feelings of disillusionment and betrayal run deep and hurt a lot. At least they did for me when exactly the same thing happened to me at Home Depot. I had worked there briefly pre-transition and then became disabled for 3 yrs by Heart failure during which time I transitioned. When I got well, I returned to work as me. All went surprisingly well as I had to come out before they hired me since the name/ssn match had changed. NO problem! a couple of years in a couple of departments went well. I am friendly, knowledgeable and just a little on the sassy, saucy side and the construction guys loved it. Then I got a small promotion and my new boss was horrible. All of the things you described plus screaming at me in front of customers. I was in the parkinglot in tears 2-3x a week for nearly a year. Then the write-ups started and the rest wos predictable. BUT, I called corporate, they investigated immediately and he was fired despite having the best numbers in the district. Some companies do honor their committments to diversity. I left later to return to my own field, Mental Health but still say, Go Depot!

Becky,
This does suck. You will bounce back.

I have a question, however. Did you ever once thought about bringing up the NJ law to them when the piss-ant excuses for writing you up got too much? A simple threat of a law suit because of them even thinking about breaking the law can throw a scare in some people.

Something to the affect of, "I don't know if you are aware of this, but there is a law in New Jersey that protects people like me from discrimination on the job. If you continue to find baseless excused to eventually fire me, then you may find yourself faced with a law suit, along with the company. Can you afford to lose a law suit on your salary?" This would be something that could have been used when you truly see the writing on the wall and you try the old "Hail Mary" pass. You know you're going to gt fired in the first place, so why not threaten them.

I lucked out this past week when I found out my manager (above my sup) has a 30-year old FtM son. He started in his teens, so she knows all about this, and she loves him dearly. That's being blessed.

I live in a city with a T-inclusive law. How do companies get around it? By simply dismissing you with a "we just don't need you anymore", or by trumping up a bullshyte reason, as done to Becky. I can't begin to count the times I've seen it done, in supposedly friendly companies, and not.

Hi :D

Going back a few years, I was one of those managers at a Best Buy store, and I'm quite willing to verify pretty much everything noted about the nature of the cultural concepts at work here.

I will also note that management at BBY is subject to the same thing -- if you aren't one of those going along with this, you will also be passed over, regardless of whether or not you have the best numbers in the country or not.

That's not sour grapes, either. My issues with BBY were sourced in a single individual who decided that since I wasn't going to bow to such pressure as they put on me, they were going to drive me out come hell or high water.

They literally fired a store manager on trumped up charges in order to get to me. A damn good one.

I should note that at the time, HR wasn't outsourced -- the person doing this was the district HR, who put himself into the GM role for the purpose of canning me, since I had damn near gotten him fired.

I was not transitioned at the time, however.

I was put in charge of the initial training they did back then, as well, which included diversity training and included videos, featuring a transperson.

in the culture at BBY at the time in the District I was in, men were men, women were women, and where you went was based on that.

As a result, I could tell from the reactions in the room to the diversity training who was going to be leaving son and who was going to be staying.

BBY values diversity. BBY's district level management does not.

Becky,

I recommend that you contact the Division of Civil Rights of the New Jersey Attorney General's Office -- http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/index.html -- and/or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission --
http://www.eeoc.gov/ -- and file a complaint against Best Buy alleging discrimination in your firing based on sex and gender identity or expression. (Local offices of the N.J. Civil Rights Division are listed in this publication:
http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/factsheets/fact_sexdis.pdf.) Whether or not gender identity or expression is expressly protected by N.J. or federal law, courts have held that discrimination based on a person's transgender status is illegal sex discrimination. The best and most recent example is Diane Schroer's successful suit against the Library of Congress.

Yes, discrimination is hard to prove, but the detailed information that you have regarding promotions that other less-qualified employees have received and the unequal and unfair discipline is exactly the kind of evidence that is needed, and greatly improves your chances of success. It won't be an easy process, but if we don't start asserting our rights, employers and the general public will continue to ignore them with impunity.

Best of all, the N.J. Civil Rights Division and/or the EEOC will investigate your complaint without it costing you a single penny and, if they agree that Best Buy violated the law in firing and/or refusing to promote you, they may actually take Best Buy to court on your behalf. However, even if they won't sue on your behalf, having a finding by the government agency responsible for such maters that Best Buy violated the law will make it much easier for you to find an attorney who is willing to represent you on terms you can afford. There is also the possibility that the ACLU's LGBT Project -- http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/ -- who represented Diane Schroer, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund -- http://www.transgenderlegal.org/ -- in New York City, Lambda Legal-- http://www.lambdalegal.org/ -- which also has an office in NYC, or the National Center for Lesbian Rights -- http://www.nclrights.org/ -- will be willing to represent you. It won't cost you anything more than a little time and effort to try these avenues to see if you can get some help.

Most importantly, I hope you can find a new job soon and one where you are accepted for who you are and rewarded for what you can do.

Blessings,
Abby

beachcomberT | October 25, 2008 6:34 AM

Rebecca...Good luck with finding a new job and moving on. In the meantime, though, I would advise you to file for unemployment benefits and challenge your firing. You don't necessarily have to hire a lawyer to do this, but you would have to assemble a lot of paperwork, and probably go to 1 or 2 hearings. From the facts you presented, it sounds like the discrimination you experienced could involve both transgender and age issues. Not surprising that Best Buy might pick a younger "kid" for promotion, someone deemed "cooler" and maybe better able to motivate young subordinates. Non-union companies have pretty free rein to promote whomever they want with little or no rationale. Internal politics, i.e. being loyal and ego-boosting to the higher-ups, is usually the determining factor. However, a trumped-up firing can be challenged, and I suspect New Jersey has pretty decent labor laws to assist you. I also agree Human Rights Campaign needs to investigate its "star" companies more closely, and also disclose how much money each A-rated company has donated to HRC. Thank you for taking the first step by publicizing your experiences on this blog. Consumers need to know what goes on in the back offices of Best Buy and the other smiley-faced corporations.

I'm glad everyone's being so supportive, here. I lost a job several years ago because of my sexuality and even a few of my gay friends (who didn't work there w/ me, all my straight coworkers who I talked to afterward took my side) asked me if it was just because I wasn't that good.... It left me thinking I was paranoid.

Anyway, there is a gap between corporate policy and what they actually do, which makes it even harder to fight against this sort of thing. I'm sorry it happened to you, Rebecca.

Everyday Transperson | November 2, 2008 1:00 PM

Very VALUABLE story and comments regarding an issue that is so little addressed by our community...... And as I hope that everyone will begin to discover, this problem partly has its origins from a few trans leaders / "activists" (or the new term "consultants") who are directly involved in protecting such corporations in exchange for corporate perks and underhanded business deals. The result of course is that the rest of us are fired or are forced to quit our companies.

Rebecca, I am so sorry to hear about your story, but please do not feel that you are alone, by all means. Your experiences are somewhat similar to my experience with my former employer. The only difference is that I resigned before they could "manage me out". I was there 21 years........

If it might help, you can read more about the trans employee the company "GL" officials called "Guinea Pig", her comments, and the retaliation that she had received as a result of blowing the whistle online. I trust the article and the last few comments posted to it will touch upon what is REALLY going on behind our backs concerning corporation's ties with some diversity consultants and groups like HRC:

http://www.bilerico.com/2008/09/outside_the_comfort_zone_corporate_suppo.php

It has been made very evident by your experience that management appeared to find you to be a THREAT and the only way they could get rid of this "threat" was to engage in "Managing you Out".

Managing out an employee is a tactic that many corporations use to get rid of a "problematic" employee who is in every aspect a model person for the job and who has, in most cases an impeccable service record with the company. In your case (as was mine), management appeared threatened because you had the smarts to catch on to their corrupt and discriminatory system of hiring and from my experience, the first worry that they have in something like this is "what if she goes to corporate and exposes this to them, I could lose my job......." So it becomes a battle of "we have to get rid of you fast and make sure this stays covered-up to protect OUR jobs". Since managing out an employee is a very gray legal area they can do so successfully and get away with it. The process is quite simple really. Management will exert its authority to micro-manage you or give you so much work that you can't handle it. The result, the employee either can't do the job and thus disciplined for it , or the employee can't handle the harrassment anymore and finally quits. In either case, the "managing out" process works very effectively. Its sort of like the lobbying process. Is it legal ?? Sure, but is it ethical ?? well, let's just move to the next paragraph...........

I am curious as to how many GLBT organizations that Best Buy "sponsors". I think you will find a large part of your answer as to why you were discriminated against if you begin to investigate these corporate "citizenship" campaigns, campaigns which our GLBT and yes, even trans leaders are getting ahead just like the managers they are greasing palms with while other everyday transgender men and women get kicked to the curb and discriminated against because we are deemed a "threat" to the corrupt GLBT / Corporate "ally" status quo which involves fame, glory and questionable deal making, all which solely benefits THEM.

Lastly, don't place too much faith in HRC's CEI index. Take a look at how many of the companies who receive a 100% rating on the index donate corporate "sponsorships" to the organization. Also, as with my company, many companies will make deals with HRC to obtain the index questionnaire as far as ONE YEAR in advance, so that they can ensure policy revision and thus continuing to receive 100 % (just like receiving a copy of the exam before exam day......)

Anyway, I hope my experience helped. After the experience I had with corporate America and the trans "activists" who are protecting it, I have made it a point to investigate this corrupt emerging phenomena and hold those accountable, despite one trans activist's assertion of "If you choose to wage war on all of corporate America, you choose to it alone............" Sadly that was one of our own trans "leaders" speaking. I hope that the trans leadership changes soon before more stories of corporate discrimination surface while we continue to be innundated with photos of our GLBT "leaders" enjoying their $100 + a plate dinners, seated at tables with the very corporations who discriminate against us.

Thank you all for allowing me to share my perspective and experience as well.

Everyday T, You have made some very serious charges here, basically accusing Donna Rose (the author of the other post you linked to and with whom you had somewhat of a "running battle" in the comments there) and other unnamed "trans leaders / "activists" (or the new term "consultants")" of fraud and deceit. Unless you can come up with something a lot more tangible than what you posted on the other thread, your accusations fail miserably and are extremely unfair, regardless of your personal feelings toward Donna and the others.

From reading your comments on Donna's post, you obviously had a disagreement with American Airlines and lost your job. Whether that was due to discrimination because you are trans or not, there is no way to tell based on the limited information you provided. I am very sorry for the loss of your job after so many years of service to them, but to blame it on Donna and others is totally unjustified.

Lastly, there is no "trans leadership" other than those courageous individuals who are willing to step forward and fight for our rights and whom others of us choose to support. If you don't like what they're doing, I urge to step forward and join in the fight for equal rights for trans, and LGB, people everywhere.

Obviously, I left a crucial word out of the final sentence of my response to Everyday T. That sentence should read:

"If you don't like what they're doing, I urge you to step forward and join the fight for equal rights for trans, and LGB, people everywhere."

Everyday Transperson | November 2, 2008 10:05 PM

Abby, while I can certainly appreciate your opinions, I won't attempt to take the bait of engaging into a heated debate where you appear to have already made up your mind based on what you may have heard from the Scottsdale activist circle. I have engaged in far too many such debates on blogs which were only later discovered as smokescreens for crony protectionism and attacking anyone who disagreed with them.

In all fairness, you do not know all of the facts of this case, you do not know what sort of evidence is present, you do not know all of the people involved (including attorneys), nor what was said other than what was written here or what you may have heard from a very influential trans activist crony that happened to once live in the same town as you. Therefore your assertions are unsubstantiated based on speculation and supposition and perhaps hearsay.

Additionally, I would encourage you to re-read the comments again and you will see (by fact) that the comments made no accusatory statement of "fraud" or "deceit". Please do not place unstated words in the author's mouth...........

In regards to your suggestion to "step forward and join the fight for equal rights........." I would ask you to reflect upon the following:

If I can't even express my story or opinion safely on a simple blog without being attacked by a tight clique of crony protectionists then what makes you think that there will be an open door policy and equal opportunity to join the fight when there is such a closed status quo system ?? I'm sorry, I almost forgot, one has to bow down to and agree with the views and agendas dictated by the powerful trans "activists" to be considered accepted into the esteemed trans political/corporate boys and girls ONLY club.

Thank you for your time and your comments.