By Jody Valley
Discrimination is still legal
Q: A friend of mine told me about a job at Agave Restaurant on Woodward and Canfield. My friend told me he was looking for cooks and told me to ask for Matt. I was told to come over to Agave at 2:00 p.m. When I arrived over to the job, I asked for Matt. Matt came out and saw that I was a transgender. He told me that he could not give me the job because he has an open kitchenÑand that I could not dress like a woman.
Jody, I live as a woman. What does he mean! I want to know what to do about this. I don’t want him to get away with this. How can he just outright discriminate? I am a transgender and proud of who I am. Who can I go to in order to see what I can do about this? It is all right for me to go and spend my money there, but it is not all right for me to work there. Agave discriminates against Transgenders!
A: I’m not sure what you legally can do about it. You would have to consult a lawyer. However, this letter tells your story and will reach a lot of people. I’m sorry that this happened to you. I asked a staff member of Between The Lines (since I’m not from the Detroit area) about this restaurant. He said that all he knew was that it was “gay friendly,” but not lgbt owned. I guess it is ” lgb” friendly, but the “t” seems to be missing in Agave’s case, at least for employment opportunities.
Stick to your convictions
Q: My choir director is a wonderfully talented musician whom I have respected for almost thirteen years. Recently, he chose to perform sex acts in front of me, in a public place, with multiple partners. I found this to be a very humiliating and degrading experience. When I asked him why he would choose to do this, he responded, “Do you know how long I’ve been in love with you?” I was very confused and felt let down, but tried to respond to his choice of behavior with understanding and compassion.
The choir director controls what is placed upon the choir room walls. (We rent the room from a larger church.) When the phrases, “Swallow It” and “Wrap your Lips Around It” appeared all over the chalkboard, I objected to it, realizing that I could not bring my eight-year old niece into that room. (She wanted to play the piano.)
As a result of this behavior, I have been thrown out of my choir. When I made an appeal to this, I was told, “We don’t care what this person does, and if that is something you don’t like, maybe you should find another church!”
Jody, should I stay and fight for my convictions? Two other choir members have recently been removed, also. They have questionedÑthrough letters–my removal. Should I move on and give my time and talent to another church? If I leave, will this person repeat this behavior and wound more members of this church congregation?
Wounded in the Church
P.S. Love your column! It is the very first thing I look for when I get my fresh B.T.L.
A: I’m not sure why you would even want to stay there. You haven’t given me one good reason, other than you’ve been involved there for a long time and you respect the choir director’s talent. From what I read, it doesn’t seem that this choir director respects you, or many others. He also seems to have support of many in the choir members; so, going to the choir for backing doesn’t appear to be a good strategy. There are other places for your talent, and other talented choir directors. If it were my situation, I’d move on–and be glad that I did.