There seems to be a discrepancy in the way people interpret the word “feminist.” There’s the more formal definition that scholars accept such as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” On the contrary there’s a social definition that everyday people use to interpret feminist: “A Nazi group of females who essentially hate the male species, don’t have sex, and want females to dominate everything in life.” Despite the variety individuals interpretations, everyone can agree that all feminist are fighting for equal gender rights and opportunity.
Individuals who identify as transgender face more everyday problems than we may know. The little things, such as having to choose a bathroom without getting yelled at or getting security called, or having to explain why you look absolutely nothing like your drivers license are a few things that heterosexuals take for granted.
The workforce today is strongly dominated by men. Typically white, middle to upper class men. However, when it comes to being transgender, being a white man is not necessarily favored. According to the article in “Introducing the New Sexuality Studies”, by Kimberly Tauches, people who identify as transgender undergo far more than we would expect. Transgenders face conflict in public spaces, language, documentation, sexuality, and also problems in the medical world.
Gender is a term that evolves over time. Today, gender is defined as something different than it was viewed as in the 1950s. A woman in the past who went and did work in an office for example was viewed as masculine, as well as a woman who played sports. Today, gender has obtained a new perspective. Feminine and masculine are different than they were fifty years ago. Gender operates at many different levels, including personal, in the workplace, and through interaction. All of these contribute to gender attribution, which is the process in which we decide and expect a person to act, based on what we see. We base what we see from how masculine or feminine the person acts.
Men have always been viewed as masculine. In the work place, men have always been favored in earning more money, such as doctors, lawyers, and bosses. Men also obtain the label as head of family, and have shown significant power over woman in politics. How is this supposed to come into play when a woman becomes a man?
Transgenders today often have a ridiculous amount of criticism when trying to fit into the workplace. According to americanprogress.org:
- Fifteen percent to 43 percent of gay and transgender workers have experienced some form of discrimination on the job.
- Eight percent to 17 percent of gay and transgender workers report being passed over for a job or fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Ten percent to 28 percent received a negative performance evaluation or were passed over for a promotion because they were gay or transgender.
- Seven percent to 41 percent of gay and transgender workers were verbally or physically abused or had their workplace vandalized.
- Ninety percent of transgender individuals have encountered some form of harassment or mistreatment on the job.
- Forty-seven percent of workers have experienced an adverse job outcome because they are transgender. This includes:
- Forty-four percent who were passed over for a job
- Twenty-three percent who were denied a promotion
And 26 percent who were fired because they were transgender
The link above is the story of a woman named Vandy Beth Glenn who was fired when she told her boss about her transition from being male to female. The took this into court regarding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009.
The HRC.org (Human Rights Campaign) noted some important pros and cons of becoming transgender:
Some benefits of disclosure:
- Living an authentic and whole life
- Reducing the stress of hiding our identity
- Being more productive at work
- Developing closer, more genuine relationships with colleagues, customers and clients
- Building self-esteem from being known for who we really are
- Having authentic and open friendships with other transgender people
- Becoming a role model for others
Some risks/consequences of coming out:
- Not everyone will be understanding or accepting
- Family, friends and co-workers may be shocked, confused or even hostile
- Some relationships may permanently change
- You may experience harassment, discrimination or violence
- You may lose your job
Unfortunately, there are no answers on how to perfectly or correctly obtain a transgender identity in the workplace. Being transgender is something that is a challenge that comes with a lot of personal choices. Applications may or may not ask for gender specifications as well as medical paperwork.
Transgender individuals face many problems not only keeping a job, but getting hired. The application and interview process are difficult. There are 29 states in America that make it legal to fire you if you identify as gay. There are many tips on sites that transgenders are required to use in order to keep or receive a job. These tips include some things that most people don’t have to face. Transgenders are suggested to keep their identity private and not make it a crisis at work. If it is to be discussed, it should be done not on-site at work, and made known that it is private. Trasgneders are also required to not slip under any circumstances while on the job. Every move is watched under a very large microscope. Transgenders are also advised to record every move they make. This way, if something slips up regarding discrimination, they have proof that the work was put in. Transgenders are advised to keep calm in situations. One might feel that he or she is constantly being watched or harassed. It might be hard to stay focused at work under that type of pressure.
How would you feel if your co-worker opened up to you?
Do you think that transgenders are going to be given equal opportunity in the next few years?
Do you think that transgenders have to right to be upset with how they are treated or do business owners have rights in choosing who they hire?
Why is it such a big deal to be in a fraternity? For some, it’s about hanging out with a lot of people you may like or having a brotherhood that will last forever. For others, the reason is that being in a fraternity will help them get more girls to have sex with. For some reason college girls find an attraction with a guy being in a fraternity. A frat guy has the appearance of liking to have a good time and show their girls a good time. Events such as socials, date functions, and formals all turn out to be organized parties or gatherings that end with sex between the “couple” for the night.
Is being in a frat mean that you are socially accepted my most females and thus, able to hookup or have sex with? Is sex more about someone’s social acceptance in college or about the actual act of sex? Is it more about telling people who you had sex with and how it happened or about actually enjoying the experience? I personally think that sex in college has turned into a competition between guys and other guys and between girls and other girls. Fighting for who had sex with a better looking or more fun person. Gone are the days that good sex is between a couple that has chemistry and understands the other persons body and their likes and dislikes. With all the competition thats going on, how could one really even know what their partner wants when all the worry is about who your going to tell and how they are going to judge? This game or battle is even more prevalent between fraternities to try and see which one is better. Better is judged by the parties they throw and the girls that show up to them. Said Sadiqa Thornton,” Sex doesn’t sell. Erosion of female self esteem does. The feeling of superiority over women does. Turning women into “things” to be studied and judged and then calling it “sex” does. Sex doesn’t sell. Objectification does.” This means that the judgement and the competition that was referred to earlier is what people are getting excited about now a days, not sex.
In popular culture today, we typically see advertisements, movies, or even hear songs about men and women having sex who obtain “perfect” bodies. We see and hear about small waist lines, chiseled abs, and big boobs. However, contradictory to what we see portrayed by media, 69% of adults in America are overweight or obese according to http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm. That means that most couples engaging in sexual activity are not portrayed or talked about accurately in media. Does being overweight necessarily effect sex drive? According to Andrew McCollough of NYU Medical Center, “Medical conditions such as high cholesterol and insulin resistance [an early indicator of type 2 diabetes] do have the ability to impact sexual performance, which in turn impacts desire, particularly in men..A man who has problems having an erection is going to lose his desire for sex in not too long a time,” says McCollough” Erection problems are caused by fat deposits that clog vessels in arteries that make the penis inert. Body fat also produces SHBG, (sex hormone binding globulin), which attaches to testosterone. making less testosterone available to increase sex drive. Continue reading
UNITE Magazine was launched in March of 2013 as the first magazine to cater to LGBTQI+ community in Nashville. This magazine is a bi-monthly publication that offers the best in arts, music, dining, travel, fitness, and more. This month’s issue pictured LBGT activist, Margaret Ellis, and featured stories and upcoming events catering to the LGBT group specifically. The magazine was created and published by Joey Amato, whom we had the pleasure of talking to and learning more about the publication from.
For one of the assignments of class, we were asked to watch the documentary “(A)sexuality.” This documentary focused mostly on David Jay and his journey in identifying and creating Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). The documentary uses him almost as the instructor, as it shows him in different interviews being interrogated about asexuality and its definitions and components. An asexual person is described by this organization as a person that does not experience sexual attraction. The documentary aims to use different examples and situations in which this sexual orientation can be explained. The documentary is beneficial in the way that it does this. It shows various instances in which the person describes his or her own personal identification of their sexuality and even describes it further to try to better explain it. I found that the characters presence at the pride parade and the interviews shown in this documentary was effective in expressing the way that others perceive asexuality and their lack of understanding for it. I think a limitation of this documentary was that I personally didn’t feel that I had a universal and shared definition or explanation for asexuality after watching it. I was still confused at whether these individuals felt that asexuality was something that was a biological shortcoming or whether or not they truly felt it was a choice. I wish that the people they interviewed were clearer in addressing that factor.
This assignment connected to our assignments relating to the LBGTQI community. The most relevant connection I made was to the panel discussion we had with the Office of LGBTQI Life here at Vanderbilt. Some of their personal stories really resonated with my curiosity and reflection of this documentary. I think this discussion gave me a better sense of how personal sexual orientation is and how much if can vary per person. Asexuality, being a sexual orientation, that is seen as “abnormal” in this society is similar to the LBGTQI community in that they both recognize that they are considered “abnormal” in society and are aiming to create a better understanding and acceptance for all sexual orientations nationwide. This assignment was different from the discussion in that none of the individuals identified as asexual but I think the connection was more so, for me, about how you don’t have to necessarily define your sexuality in terms that make sense to others. It is a personal aspect that is not so black and white. This main idea for me connected in both assignments or discussions and topics.
An example that I would use with this assignment in particular is this image that I came across on the Internet:
This example really stood out to me because it related to my reactions from the documentary. This person in the image is identifying as an asexual but also as a hetero-romantic young adult. This really connected to my response to the film in that I felt that the film did not necessarily leave the viewer with a strict idea of the sexual orientation other than the fact that they do not experience sexual orientation. Some of the individuals claimed that they had relationships with other individuals but it was one that was romantic and emotional and did not find it pleasurable or necessary to participate in sexual acts in order to progress their relationship or obtain intimacy. This, I would think, might be a hard concept for other people to understand because in terms of what we consider to be “normal” as a society, sexual experience is a natural part of an intimate relationship. It is considered a stage that the relationship reaches where sexual experience seems natural or even part of our biology. The fact that she claims that she is also “extremely awkward talking to guys” also addresses something in the film that I remembered.
Many people outside of this sexual orientation seemed entirely confused at the idea of asexuality and for example in the View interview, were quite rude in interrogating David Jay about his own personal experiences. I think that since most people cannot fathom this idea of not experiencing sexuality, they assume things that they think best explain this. Asexual individuals throughout the film even addressed this idea that other people predict that they are simply “inexperienced” sexually and don’t know what they don’t like sex. They assume that maybe that had a dangerous or extremely negative sexual experience from the past that has turned them off from sex altogether, like sexual assault or rape. Another assumption made is that the person is simply lacking social skills or is just awkward at interacting with others and therefore finds it easier to not engage with other people. I found this interesting because I have personally witnessed heterosexual people using these examples to “explain” homosexuality. I find this interesting that some people try to find “reasons” or the “causes” for this sexual orientation rather than accepting them as part of society.
The question or idea that I find most reflective would be to ask how we use other sexual orientations to reinforce the “correctness” of our own.
I would also add the question of how we as a society deem our own sexuality and I would challenge the reader to think about how we define our personal sexuality and in terms of how it relates to biological or environmental terms.
Do you believe that biology or evolution define what we view at normal in our society, for example heterosexual as being the standard sexual orientation?
Do you think that asexuality should be included as a sexual orientation that falls within the LBGTQI community?