Who is a Man?

New York Times article “What is a Man”?

El’Jai Devoureau was not born a man, so fucking what? Look at him. Yes, I said “him”.  Because if I passed Devoureau on the street I would not have questioned his maleness.  I guarantee  none of the males utilizing the drug testing facilities questioned  it either.  They did what they had to do. Mr. Devoureau did his job and that was that.  No one had an issue with him doing his job on that first day until the employer made it one by firing him on the second day.

Devoureau’s employer “heard” he was transgendered and asked if he had surgery, because only “men” are allowed to perform this particular job.  WTF?!  Is she even allowed to ask such a question legally? If she had had not heard Devoureau was transgendered would she have asked? Was any previous male in that position asked to verify their manhood before taking the job? Or did she take their masculinity at face value? El’Jai rightfully declined to answer the question because it was a private matter (aka nunya effin’ bizness), and was fired for it.

The state of Georgia where he was born recognizes him as a man. The state of New Jersey where he lives and holds his driver’s license recognizes him as a man. Hell, the federal government via the Department of Social Security recognizes him as a man.  What is the issue here?

This is hardly the first time someone transgendered was fired from their employment because of their identity. Though apparently this the first time a case takes on the question of a transgendered person’s chosen sex. There are the rare discrimination cases out there, but most settle out of court and I can fully understand.  Why is it whenever anyone has to fight for their right to do (or in this case be) something in the courts of law they must have all of their personal business dragged through the public to do so?  Everything in such court cases places the person under a very hot spotlight and few want to go through that.

“They were judging me for who I am, not for the job I was being asked to do, and that’s wrong, and I was hurt,” he said. “I’m doing this so everyone knows it’s wrong, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

It’s a damn shame that even if he wins this case (which I think he will),and wins his job back at the drug testing facility  his fight is hardly over. You just know there are going to be the “uncomfortable” to the downright hateful who will do their damnedest to make his job miserable. Still, the fight has to start somewhere and I say bravo for Mr. El’Jai Devoureau for being willing to bring this out to verdict, knowing his privacy is soon going to become very public, and not settling out of court.

Who is a man? El’Jai Devoureau. Fight on dude.

4 thoughts on “Who is a Man?

  1. Damned insane that his employer would treat him as such, but also sadly not at all a surprise. We live in a world where half the republicans in Mississippi think interracial marriages should be illegal, where gay marriage can be banned in California, and where employers all across the map react through fear and a lack of intelligence and understanding on a daily basis – that, or they react based on what they suspect their lawyers would advise them to do, because of their constant fear of being sued for any and all moronic reasons.


    • “…because of their constant fear of being sued …” I thought of that also. But the state of New Jersey has general laws in place to help protect the transgendered from that. Using his case as an example, If a male sued because a “woman” was in the room, it would have been thrown out of court because not only had Devoureau had the surgery, but even the government at various levels recognized his chosen gender. .

      However, what if the transgendered were at an earlier stage of the process and had not had the surgery yet? Does being on hormones and simply stating I identify as fe/male count? What of a hermaphrodite who prefers to identify as male? How far into our pants can the law go? The fight El’Jai Devoureau is going through now will hopefully answer and protect the transgendered further in this.

  2. Amen, indeed! This is something he should fight. The only question is “Who was it that was gossiping to the effect that the man had been born a woman, and how did that person find out?”. If El’Jai himself had told this person willingly, perhaps he shouldn’t have. It certainly isn’t anyone’s business.

    • If Devoureau voluntarily told someone (and I seriously doubt this is the case), and that person in turn told the employer causing this conflict it is a personal issue between the two of them. However the person found out, if the information was purposely passed on with the intent to have Devoureau fired, that may become a separate harassment case.

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