Tag Archives: Feministe

I’m Sorry, But We’ll Need to See Your Genitals

Laurie and Marlene say:

(This post is cross-posted to Feministe.)

From the Philadelphia Gay News comes this disgusting story of Kate Lynn Blatt, whose employer requested a photograph of her genitalia as a condition of continued employment.

Blatt was working for Manpower, a temporary employment service. After she was asked to leave a job she was on for Manpower in 2007, they told her that she’d have to provide documentation from her surgeon regarding genital surgery, plus a photograph of her genitalia in order to seek further employment through them.

The company (Sapa) lied about the reason she was terminated, and then would not let her return to work and use the women’s locker room unless she was willing to provide the documentation and the photograph. Manpower concurred.

Blatt filed bias complaints against Sapa and Manpower with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, alleging wrongful discharge based on sex and disability. She said her disability is gender dysphoria.

So now they are qualifying employees by their genitals. We’d love to see what would happen if they asked everyone in the company for these photos. (Especially love to see the CEO’s). Apparently Blatt’s driver’s license isn’t enough for them. They need explicit pictures.

Sapa and Manpower clearly consider Blatt less then fully human. No requirement is too degrading if she wants to work. She’s not a person, so they could ask her for anything they wanted, including a request that would be horrifying if it had been directed at them.

Bethany Perkins, a spokesperson for Manpower Inc., said she couldn’t comment on the specifics of Blatt’s complaints. But she said Manpower is committed to ensuring a safe and non-exploitive work environment.

“The biggest thing to remember is that we’re absolutely committed to the safety and security of our workforce, including the transgender members of our workforce,” Perkins said. “We’re committed to having diversity in our workforce.'”

It would be great if Perkins’ statement was true. What seems to be happening is a combination of serious ignorance and ordinary assumption of cisgender and cissexual privilege. We expect that Manpower is concerned (among other things) with lawsuits from other employees using the locker room. Since they don’t think Blatt matters, they are only concerned with protecting everyone else.

These things happen all the time and they’re invisible. The only thing that isn’t ordinary is that Blatt filed a complaint and a lawsuit and it made the news.

Thanks (again) to Lynn Kendall for the pointer.

Guest blogging at Feministe!

Laurie and Debbie say:

We’re delighted to have been invited to guest blog for two weeks at Feministe, one of the best feminist blogs around!

We just put up an introductory post giving some context about who we are and what we do. As we put up posts over there with more current content, we’ll cross-post them here. We encourage you to join the conversation (with us and with the other bloggers) there, as well as here!