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workplace discrimination

So A Trans Man Can’t Hold A Job Where Men Pee In A Cup Because He’s Not A Real Man?

There’s a reason, or at least a rationale, only male TSA agents can grope male passengers: That by keeping these types of intimate encounters between members of the same-sex, any risk of the activity becoming sexual is mitigated. It’s that same line of thinking that Urban Treatment Associates in Camden, New Jersey, uses in only allowing male staffers to work as urine monitors, where they watch recovering drug addicts pee into a cup and ensure they don’t use somebody else’s urine. Apparently that policy became all too complicated after the hiring of El’Jai Devoureau, who was born biologically female but lives as a man. The second day on the job, Devoureau was fired — only after, his discrimination lawsuit claims, his supervisor asked him if he is trans after hearing rumors.

Mr. Devoureau, 39, says he has identified himself as a man all his life. In 2006, after he began taking male hormones and had sex-change surgery, he adopted the name El’Jai (pronounced like L. J.). A new birth certificate issued by the State of Georgia identifies him as male, as does his New Jersey driver’s license, and the Social Security Administration made the change in its records. “As long as I’ve been a person, I’ve lived as a man,” he said in an interview. “At age 5, I did everything a boy did: I climbed trees, I played football, I played with trucks. Most of the people in my life, all they know is I’m male.”

Last June, Urban Treatment Associates in Camden hired Mr. Devoureau as a part-time urine monitor; his job was to make sure that people recovering from addiction did not substitute someone else’s urine for their own during regular drug testing. On his second day, he said, his boss said she had heard he was transgender. “I said I was male, and she asked if I had any surgeries,” he said. “I said that was private and I didn’t have to answer, and I was fired.” Calls to Urban Treatment were not returned. But after Mr. Devoureau made a complaint to the state’s Division on Civil Rights, the treatment center filed a response in January saying that Mr. Devoureau’s dismissal “was not motivated by, nor related in any way to, any discriminatory intention.”

Civil rights laws and court decisions allow limited cases of favoring one group over another, like giving preference to women for jobs as nurses in maternity wards. In its January filing, Urban Treatment said that firing Mr. Devoureau was legitimate, “since the sex of the employee engaged in that particular job position is a bona fide occupational qualification” — implying that Mr. Devoureau was not really a man.

In 2006, New Jersey added sexual orientation and gender identity to its list of protected classes of workers, though there is leniency given for just the type of jobs Devoureau held, where one’s gender can be a factor. But this is all so silly: Devoureau (whose first name is pronounced “El-Jay”) is a man. Sure, he had hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery (the details of which he’s not revealing as yet), but the most crucial aspect of all of this is that he identifies and lives as a man. He has felt this way since he was a child. He is not, as some jerks might argue, some sexual pervert claiming to be another sex just to get a chance to look at penises during the workday. (We have no idea whether Devoureau is straight or gay, as if that matters.) He is just a guy trying to do his job, but was told he could not.

[NYT; photo via NYT]

On:           Apr 11, 2011
Tagged: , , , ,
    • Adrian Acosta

      Out of all the jobs in New Jersey why would El’Jai apply to this one? THAT to me matters more than anything else in this case.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rhen

      well unless El’Jai has to explain his life story and show his genitals too while performing this job, then I guess it doesn’t fucking matter. If you think about it, anyone whose job it is to examine genitals all day might be suspected of having some kind of sexual motive, not just a trans individual and everyone needs money to live so fuck off with the “hmmm wonder why he wanted “that” job” bullshit. If there is no other reason for the job termination aside from the suspicion he was trans, then it is discrimination plain and simple. Oh, and Joe Macauly, your transphobia is written all over your face, any junkie should be damn-well thankful for anyone who tries to help them out. Give your heads a shake.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GeriHew

      This is a very well written article by Queerty’s standards – until the last sentence.


      Apr 11, 2011 at 4:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adrian Acosta

      “fuck off with the “hmmm wonder why he wanted “that” job” bullshit.”
      Rhen, was that in reference to my comment? If so, I believe you misunderstood my comment.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GeriHew

      @joe macauley: Mr Devoureau is legally male. His transgender is not really nay of your damned business.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GeriHew

      @joe macauley: Mr Devoureau is legally male. His transgender is not really any of your damned business.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree

      If he’s qualified for the job and able to conduct himself professionally, his trans status or S.O. shouldn’t matter.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • shannon

      I say if one wants to take a job were everyday you get yelled at…cursed at…treated like crap…let them take it!

      Apr 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The sane Francis

      The bottom line is, trans-man or not, he is a man, and therefore this is discriminatory.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      well her gender is my buisness if i pay to have a male monitor and the monitor wasnt born male, ive heard of selling counterfeit before but this is ridiculous

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      its the gay dream job…hey geth wat they payin me to stare at penithes

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree

      Flag & ignore posts from the troll Joe Mc. He’s obviousy in the middle of a relapse. It’s the drugs talking.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      i can promise you that girl isnt getting that job back ill bet you a million bucks, we will all transfer to deleware valley clinic in pennsauken, ALL of us, ill hold a boycott myself, the clinic will lose money makin mrs tranny thing bad for buisness, and id be surprised if this loser even can get a job after all of this nonsense, how do u think she lost her job????? we told the boss its a woman…us the patients paying customers

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      were the reason she got fired we told the boss, we are not comfortable with it….after that your opinion doesnt matter because your not there i am

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      actually, im clean and on the clinic, and hahahahaha i still am there she isnt and its my fault so hahahahaha flag what u want my rights dont matter huh free speech dont matter right long as gays get penis screw free speech

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      oh yea and idc about trannys, i will meet you if you one eat with you shake your hand, share a milkshake if thats what call for, but not wanting you to stare at my dick isnt transphobia rhen wake the fuck up come on now even you cant be that dumb

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      @rhen: dont be so stupid you think im a phobic because i dont wanna show you my dick???? wow

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      @rhen: dont be so stupid you think im a phobic because i dont wanna show you my dick???? wow@shannon: well you dont get treated badly there, its a for the most part serene enviroment, butw the point is paying customers arent comfortable and you cant force us to buy what we dont want

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      @Adrian Acosta: what she wants it for is certainly the answer, but the real issue is we dont care why she wants the job were not comfortable with it so she wont have the job plain and simple, recovering addicts need to feel comfortable in treatment and we are not with her so shes gone and not coming back

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      love how the article calls her mr…..lmao and what does the games she played at 5 have to do with her being a tranny, i know plenty of little firls who play with trucks and climb trees, thats a kid thing not a tranny thing,..wow how crazy are you people???

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      @rhen: i can also tell you there are no tranny dr.’s i know of, and again rhen i pay, i help myself, im not in need of the help of a tranny, call it what u want…thanks for your comment

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rhen

      i’m sure he’s gonna miss you a bunch :) I hope he finds a place he can earn a living and avoid bigot ingrates in the near future.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      lmfao were ingrates because we wont pay a tranny to look at cock…lmfao…lemme guess posted by a tranny right

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      if i have my penis cut off should women in recovery feel comfortable to have me hold a cup to their vaginas???? guess what not this time girl your not getting my money just because ur some kinda transgender confused weirdo, im a patient and a paying customer and i dont want you there, and no one can make me pay for you ……………….no one this is america we dont have to buy if we dont want, thus making this employee kill the buisness where she works, thus making her fireable

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rhen

      what u are saying is no different than saying you wouldn’t be served by a gay waiter, or a black mechanic, and that you would take your business elsewhere. The fact that you are so hung up on the gender of someone who is interested in working to help addicts just shows your prejudice. And you are right, you can take your business elsewhere but you don’t have to because there are no laws protecting him from being fired over both yours and the company’s discrimination. that lack of discrimination laws for trans people is really what this story is about. Apperantly a story about internet access in rehab clinics as well. I am sure El’Jai will find a plce he is respected. I really hope Joe finds just the right person to look at his cock and prevent him from relapsing, good luck with that friend.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      hmmmmm well a waiter doesnt look at your cock? thats a tad more personal then food rhen, i know you put both in your mouth as much as you can but not everyone does that like you, and if u must be assnine enough to compare it to waiting on a table the answer is yes, if someone is not comfortable being served by a gay transgender then they can leave this is america retard, and if that waitress drives every customer out of the store then yes she should be fired as she was.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      actually its an outpatient methadone clinic rhen christ you really have not 1 damn fact here, you saw “fag in trouble” and came running no matter what the deal was, your close minded in order to get your rights respected you must respect the rights of everyone even when you dont personally like the situation, so dont throw words around you dont know like rights, and discrimination, your making a big gay fool of yourself

      Apr 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tori

      Clearly someone has no life.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 10:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      this is out patient not a rehab btw its a clinic, ill be there wed, thurs morning anything you have to say come say it to us down at the clinic see who cares

      Apr 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rhen

      wow, must be boring in there Joe. i’m really sorry for what happened to El’Jai and I’m not sure I care to hear someone justify their intolerance for people who are different than them. It sure makes em mad when you hold a mirror up so they can see themselves better lol. I’m not interested in making things personal so I’ll wrap this up with a good luck to both El’Jai and Joe.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 10:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      @Tori: so tori are u really a man?

      Apr 11, 2011 at 10:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      lmfao rhen u throw blacks in there but the truth is the guy who does it now is black, even blacks wont take your side here bud your stuck with gays so go march on 13th street n leave my clinic alone k

      Apr 11, 2011 at 10:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Riker

      With the money they save by firing him, hopefully they can hire someone to teach their patients the basics of spelling and grammar.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 10:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope

      @joe macauley:

      Honey, nobody wants to look at your one and a half inches of hot, steaming nothing. Get over yourself.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 10:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      @missanthrope: wow have you seen my dick? do you have a cam in my apt? i dont think so, stop prejudging my cock you biggot

      Apr 11, 2011 at 11:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tori

      @joe macauley: From your perspective, yes I am. It doesn’t detract that youspent the entire day on a post about someone that you obviously like. I mean dude, the majority of the comments are yours.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 11:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      @Riker: yea im commenting on a tranny lookin at cock not writing the declaration of independence, i find it rather funny the best defense you have for being 1 sisded is a grammar and spelling correction, whats next you gonna talk about my mother???? funny hahaha what a loser

      Apr 11, 2011 at 11:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joe macauley

      @Tori: actually i made one comment then woke up and saw the ignorance so i added my own, but yes a boy tamed tori i see why this angers you

      Apr 11, 2011 at 11:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Riker

      @joe macauley: I think you’re somewhat misinformed about trans issues. A person’s sex (male or female, or intersex) is biological, and can be affected by a whole host of chromosomal problems, chemical imbalances, and genetic mutations. A person’s gender (man or woman) is a social construct. Thus, someone could have been born biologically female but have the thought process/personality of a man, and live as a man their whole life.

      Also, how do you know that El’Jai isn’t a heterosexual man? It is quite possible that he is sexually interested in females.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 11:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tori

      @joe macauley: I’m not angry. I couldn’t care less that you think of me as a man.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 11:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tori

      @joe macauley: And you might want to learn how to spell before attempting to insult someone.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 11:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree

      Joe can’t stop thinking about the trans man. What does that tell us about Joe?

      Apr 12, 2011 at 12:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lauren Ford

      Yo – Don’t feed the trolls.

      Good luck with your lawsuit Mr. Devoureau, the way you were treated on the job is absurd.

      Very well written Queerty. I would echo someone else’s mention that not everyone is gay OR straight. Some of us are *both* :) or Neither.

      Apr 12, 2011 at 1:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zoe Brain

      A few things –

      First, plaintiff has a male Georgia BC. That means that if he *is* TS, he’s had sex reassignment surgery.

      Second, NJ has caselaw that protects Trans people who’ve had surgery from discrimination. It’s one of the few places where not just Gays are protected, but Trans men too.

      Exactly why surgery on genitalia should be a pre-condition for a job like this is another matter, but that appears to be the case.

      It would be interesting looking at a hypothetical case of an Intersexed man whose genitalia may be less male than the plaintiff’s, but whose original BC said “male”.

      It would also be interesting to consider someone who has 5-alpha-reductase-2 deficiency or 17-beta-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase-3 deficiency. They can get a natural change from female to male.

      See http://www.usrf.org/news/010308-guevedoces.html

      The original birth certificate would say “Female”, but in the case of 5ARD, they may even be able to father children, no surgery needed.

      For that matter, consider a change in the opposite direction, due to partial 3-beta-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase deficiency or other, rarer syndromes. Original male birth certificate, but she’s a gal.

      Some people face interesting challenges in life. Others have an easy time, but get hooked on junk anyway. Then they have to get out of that. So while I consider “Joe McCauley” a miserable excuse for a human being, I wish him well in his recovery. It’s not easy, and hopefully his paranoia is a result of temporarily wonky brain chemistry, not just assholery.

      Apr 12, 2011 at 4:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree

      @ZoeBrain: thanks for the insight on the NJ case & its importance for T/I individuals. I always learn something from your posts, here & elsewhere. [you have great blog, BTW]

      I do hope Joe has solid people who can assist on his path to recovery and that his acting out phase will be short-lived !

      Apr 12, 2011 at 4:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dodgy

      @joe macauley:

      You do realise, Mr Macauley that, by your definition of gender, in this case, you are admitting that you would rather a man look at your junk, than have a woman see it…

      Is there something that you need to come to terms with, Mr Macauley?

      (with no disrespect intended to Mr Devoureau, and no intended aspesion at his gender identity)

      Apr 12, 2011 at 9:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shannon1981

      He had surgery. He is a man. End of story.

      This is discrimination pure and simple.

      @Joe Macauley, while I wish you a speedy recovery…you are an ignorant ass.

      Apr 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kirl

      What straight man would not prefer a woman watch him? Wow it’s a women and not a man. What a relief.

      Dec 9, 2011 at 4:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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