Thesis: To accept transgendered persons in the workplace will revolutionize the way corporate society functions. We will no longer be able to create castes based on the minutiae of style and manner. (Or will it be otherwise?)
We are a picky society, consumed with the frivolous
Work in America is not primarily about “performance.” In certain environments, performance is valued, but it is never a sufficient cause for success.
I sit down at my desk, ready to “perform.” I will perform all tasks well, even with unfeigned cheer. But if I wear a suit from 1977 and a big ol’ Wembley necktie, I am a fool, an outcast, an employee certain to be… fired!
This example is extreme, but who can disagree? Oh, sure, certain troglodytes, useful and unseen by clients, may get away with it (red Swingway, etc.). But as for those in “the game,” the standard is finely detailed. When I was at a major drug company, the boss would get uncomfortable if I wore wear my jacket; the way was not to do so. “Why not take off your jacket, get comfortable?”
In a word: Conformity. And it is not just clothes, makeup, the things of appearance. It is the way you talk, your manner, your manners. Mind them all, or be talked about when microwave popcorn is made.
Enter the transgendered
The transgendered person, if s/he is tolerated in his/her preferred form, upends the picky standard. Let him/her be a cross-dresser, let him/her be a transsexual–it matters not. If such gross differences with what is “normal” are to be tolerated, then what can be done with small deviations from the standard?
Consider the job interview. If Bob shows up in makeup and nice, female businessware, the how can Mr. Interviewer toss my resume simply because my tie is of a garish design? If Myrtle is in a suit and tie, then how can anyone giggle if I show up in jeans and a tee shirt? How can I be passed over for a promotion merely I’m a nerd with a pocket protector? To do so would be hypocrisy.
Homosexuals can nearly do it, but not quite
In the workplace, homosexuals are more and more out, and sometimes being out means being a little different. The homosexuality itself is “different.” Even so, a compromise is struck: Gays get their own category and a little leeway. So do women. But there are glass ceilings for them both and double standards to aid “us,” because
Hypocrisy is a survivor
We love our castes and will not let go of them easily. Double, triple, and quadruple standards will help us accomplish many things. The Sikh may wear his turban–that’s religion, and not something to be commented upon. But if someone wears a baseball hat with his suit–look out!
A lawsuit or a policy may allow Bob to wear a dress without harassment. Others will share a wink or a comment with those they can trust. Bob won’t be CEO any time soon. The gays will be partly out, not totally. “Business casual” will have its unspoken rules. We will play our frivolous games no matter what Life and Political Correctness throw at us, and those who play them best will be rewarded. The exploited remainder may lose with or without complaint, as they choose.