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  1. placenta sandwich
    placenta sandwich August 18, 2009 at 1:11 am |

    Oh god, this is disgusting :(

  2. Katie
    Katie August 18, 2009 at 1:51 am |

    I have always wondered what it is about a trans identity that makes people feel they have the right to demand information about very personal matters like genitalia and one’s surgical history. But to demand actual photographs? As a condition for employment?? This is absolutely revolting.

  3. DaisyDeadhead
    DaisyDeadhead August 18, 2009 at 2:52 am |

    I am in no way minimizing this as an instance of transphobia, but I do see it as an extension of how working class people’s bodies are seen as “belonging” to their employers in ways that would horrify the management-class if it was done to them…For example, I know several people who have had to display surgical and/or injury scars (on various parts of their anatomy) to “prove” they had been out of work for the reasons they said they were. Hysterectomy scars, you name it. (Doctors’ notes, one assumes, are easy to come by and/or forge). This is the transphobe-update of same: Instead of a “scar”–they demand to see the finished result. Gross, but same routine, taken to a different and new extreme.

    This type of humiliation would never happen to a professional person.

  4. Loosely Twisted
    Loosely Twisted August 18, 2009 at 7:04 am |

    I think someone there is a pervert and wanted free porn.

  5. Jadey
    Jadey August 18, 2009 at 7:29 am |

    Sexual harassment much. “Diversity in the workforce” is bullshit — no company that would demand a photograph of a worker’s naked body in order to employ her, which is both exploitative and humiliating, wants trans people around. One can imagine what their response would be if a picture she gave them failed to “pass”. (Though I’m not sure why they think that a photographer would be somehow more credible than a doctor?) But it’s definitely a losing game to give into their cissexist and transmisogynistic paranoia.

  6. MRM
    MRM August 18, 2009 at 7:47 am |

    Reading this is making me feel ill.

    Helpful hint to Manpower: she’s a woman, so her genitals are female genitals. Fuck off.

  7. Mikeymikemike
    Mikeymikemike August 18, 2009 at 8:58 am |

    I just do not understand how anyone, anywhere would think that it is anyway appropriate to ask an employee for a picture of his or her genitals. This is one of the most bizarre violations of a persons rights.

  8. News Round-Up « JOOBIT
    News Round-Up « JOOBIT August 18, 2009 at 9:15 am |

    […] “I’m Sorry, But We’ll Need to See Your Genitals” – Say what? We never realized that employers take things this personal. […]

  9. Willow
    Willow August 18, 2009 at 9:22 am |

    So this is maybe a little 101-y (or 301-y), but a quick question:

    I have always seen cisgender and cissexual used as synonyms, and my web search turned up pretty much just that. What is the difference?

  10. Marlene
    Marlene August 18, 2009 at 9:33 am |

    Willow, this isn’t the place for that question.

  11. Thomas
    Thomas August 18, 2009 at 10:20 am |

    The workplace from which she was dismissed was Sapa Industrial Extrusions, where she had a temporary position extruding aluminum parts. I mention this because the discussion necessarily focuses on this woman’s trans status and the discrimination that some folks inflict because of it, but she is not her trans status. She is surely a whole person, with friends and hobbies and interest. She was a person with a job. A job extruding aluminum. Maybe she was really good at it. Maybe she knows her way around a dozen models of aluminum forming machines like nobody else. Maybe she really liked that job. Maybe she’s a hell of a metal worker. Or maybe it’s just a paycheck. But whatever that job was to her, there is surely much to this woman other than her trans status. And some assholes at the plant, and at her temp service, made it all about her trans status.

  12. preying mantis
    preying mantis August 18, 2009 at 10:41 am |

    “Sexual harassment much.”

    Totally. How the hell did they expect this to fly?

  13. Josh Jasper
    Josh Jasper August 18, 2009 at 10:57 am |

    She should have included sexual harassment – if asking to see someone’s genitals as a condition of continued employment isn’t sexual harassment, I don’t know what is.

  14. yeuxdefeu
    yeuxdefeu August 18, 2009 at 11:11 am |

    so, so fucked up.

  15. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick August 18, 2009 at 11:36 am |

    They’re already asking for documentation, so what would they need the photographs for anyway, even if it wasn’t a gross violation to demand them? My guess someone wants them to satisfy their curiosity.

  16. Debbie Notkin
    Debbie Notkin August 18, 2009 at 12:05 pm |

    @#6, Willow: That’s a good question, and not at all 101. The person who answers it best and most completely is Julia Serano in her superb book Whipping Girl. In fact, she may be the person who has actually made a distinction between the two terms. (I’d summarize her distinction if I could do it justice, but I don’t have the book in front of me.)

    Thanks for asking.

    (Just for context, I blog with Laurie and Marlene regularly and I started working on this post, but ended up handing it over to two women who could write it better.)

  17. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers August 18, 2009 at 12:10 pm |

    The only possible excuse for demanding to see her genitals — and it’s a bad excuse, for reasons I’m about to rant about — is that they believe the bullshit argument that men commit rape because men have penises, and if they didn’t have penises they wouldn’t rape, so letting a person with a penis into a women’s room is letting in a potential rapist.

    And this is stupid. Because what makes a rapist is not the presence or absence of a dick but the presence or absence of misogyny, a massive sense of entitlement, and the desire to hurt others sexually — in other words, what makes a rapist is that they’re a rapist. Certainly, 99% of rapists are men, but 99% of men aren’t rapists and not all people with penises are men. And there are rapists who do not have penises, either because they’re not men (women who assist men in sexually assaulting women, women who sexually assault men or other women themselves) or because their penis was removed. Castrating rapists just makes them use objects instead.

    So it doesn’t *matter* what her damn genitals look like. If she was a rapist before, she’ll still be a rapist; if she was not a rapist before, she won’t be a rapist now. Rapists do not go and get legal sex changes so they can get easier access to victims. They are much more likely to go and get power instead; male executives are more dangerous, statistically, to the women of this company than one co-worker who used to be legally male. If this company really cared that much about making sure no one gets raped on their premises, they’d focus on sexual harassment… which, obviously, they can’t have done, or they’d know why you can’t ask for pictures of someone’s genitals as a condition of employment!

  18. Rosemary Riveter
    Rosemary Riveter August 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm |

    This is so outrageous, under what circumstances could it ever be appropriate to demand a photograph of someone’s genitals?

    Two things spring to mind: if an employee spontaneously included a photograph of their genitals with ID information when taking a new job they’d quite possibly be sued for harassment themselves. Secondly, could a grassroots protest to this take the form of many people voluntarily sending photographs of their genitals? Perhaps with some crotch shots of baboons for good measure.

  19. Marle
    Marle August 18, 2009 at 1:12 pm |

    That’s just gross.

  20. Sailorman
    Sailorman August 18, 2009 at 1:29 pm |

    Alara Rogers says:
    August 18th, 2009 at 12:10 pm – Edit

    The only possible excuse for demanding to see her genitals — and it’s a bad excuse, for reasons I’m about to rant about — is that they believe the bullshit argument that men commit rape because men have penises, and if they didn’t have penises they wouldn’t rape, so letting a person with a penis into a women’s room is letting in a potential rapist.

    Well, in theory one’s genitals could be an issue, if members of a certain sex did not want to be in a changing room with members whose openly-displayed genitals indicated they were of opposite sex. I think that’s actually fairly common for a variety of reasons which include but are no means limited to the rape issue.

    But I assume that didn’t actually happen: if it DID, they would already know, and wouldn’t need to see her genitals. So if she’s already been working there and it hasn’t been an issue, why is it becoming an issue now?

    (Actually, that last part is what makes me the most curious. What caused the change? Did they just find out? Did something happen between the employee and a supervisor, or with another employee? Why break an apparently-good status quo?)

  21. julian
    julian August 18, 2009 at 1:34 pm |

    …This is the most fucked up thing I have ever heard.

  22. preying mantis
    preying mantis August 18, 2009 at 1:44 pm |

    “Secondly, could a grassroots protest to this take the form of many people voluntarily sending photographs of their genitals?”

    Even if people were willing to do that, I don’t think harassing office assistants, secretaries, and/or mailroom clerks with amateur photographs of strangers’ genitalia would really help anything.

  23. Debbie Notkin
    Debbie Notkin August 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm |

    @15, Rosemary, and @19, Preying Mantis: Sadly, lots of people, most (but not all) men, already send around pictures of their genitals, mostly but not always to people they hope to date. So I don’t think this rather charming idea would work.

  24. Debbie Notkin
    Debbie Notkin August 18, 2009 at 3:44 pm |

    @3, Daisy. Sorry about that. Body Impolitic gets a lot of comments, but not compared to Feministe with several guest bloggers blogging at once, and we just didnt’ realize how far back we had to look. Thanks for checking!

  25. laprofe63
    laprofe63 August 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |

    Wow. A new low for Manpower and global corporate forces.

    I agree w/Sailorman, Thomas and DaisyDeadhead. This has to be seen in the context of gender/sexuality functioning within the context (rules/priorities) of property/capital.

    I hope they find she was wrongfully terminated.

  26. New TSA Requirements Pose Risk to Trans Travelers : The Curvature

    […] passengers in advance, to individual employees. And in a world where employers feel comfortable demanding photographs of trans people’s genitals as a condition of employment, and where trans identity is routinely and openly mocked and delegitimized on mainstream […]

  27. A.W.
    A.W. August 20, 2009 at 12:11 pm |

    laprofe63 says:

    “Wow. A new low for Manpower and global corporate forces.”

    Well no, I don’t think it’s a new low. Sounds like the same old low, really, just with a spin depending on which minority they’re shitting on. It’s just that this one got in the news, and I hope Manpower dies a horrible, horrible death in court. About fucking time, really. I know that when I went to fill out the paperwork there, the guy told me, quite bluntly with a witness in the room, that he wouldn’t use my application, that I’d be a ‘liability’. To be clear, I’ve low vision, but I’m also a trained diesel mechanic. Manpower sucks. So does Sapa, which I hadn’t heard of before. I don’t believe being trans is a disability, however, and the problems would’ve been much better situated under sexual harassment.

  28. kloncke
    kloncke August 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm |

    And now the same treatment for Caster Semenya…Gynecology, endocrinology, psychology, “transgender issues” expertise — all prongs of the official “investigation” into her legitimacy as a world-champion runner.

    Btw, interesting how the Guardian headline quotes her father defending her legitimacy with the phrase, “She’s my little girl.”

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