American Eagle Outfitters Anti-Trans Policy Changed

american eagle
This may seem like a small victory, but it’s an important one.
After discovering American Eagle Outfitters had an anti-LGBT policy on “personal appearance” for their employees requiring folks to wear gender-specific clothing, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and workers’ rights group Make the Road have pushed the store to include trans-friendly policies at the chain — and have won. Now not only will the 2,000 employees in the 61 stores across New York be allowed to wear whatever they damn well please, but will also be given trainings on transgender issues.
We aren’t too surprised that gender policing existed at American Eagle considering the ridiculous, gendered and sexist clothes they’ve sold in the past, like “male chauvinist pig” and “beaver fever” boxers — although sadly they aren’t the only ones. Discrimination against transgender job applicants and employees is an incredible problem in this country, which makes the trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) so necessary, and makes this an important win.
But of course, the Family Research Council (FRC) had to throw in their two cents on the news, taking the opportunity to push their anti-ENDA efforts by saying it actually violates the rights of the employees:

“What’s most alarming is that President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress want to expand these bullying litigation tactics to all 50 states by enacting into federal law a cross-dressing protection act. If Congress approves President Obama’s ENDA bill, employers in every state can expect to experience the same expensive, burdensome litigation that has been pursued against American Eagle Outfitters.
ENDA, what might be more appropriately called ‘The Cross-Dresser Protection Act,’ takes the bedroom into the workplace and unfairly burdens employers to know about their employee’s sexual lives. This major expansion of federal power over the workplace places an unnecessary burden on small businesses and local communities.

“Bedroom into the workplace”? Um, and how exactly is this about sex, FRC? If you’re going to attack a group of people, might want to be a little more informed, y’all. In fact, you could totally use some of those trans 101 sessions; it’ll help you be better bigots! Oh, and by the way: Fuck you.
Pic via Queerty. ht/ to Erin.

Join the Conversation

  • Comrade Kevin

    In other words, transgender people make us uncomfortable, and we don’t want them here. Or if they are here, we want them to look like “regular” people.
    It’s just another manifestation of that old saying of “I don’t mind gay people, so long as they act straight in public”.

  • Becca

    Because every time I go out in public with my gender-conforming clothing, I’m bringing the bedroom out in public, since I’m heterosexual and all… oh wait… derrrr.

  • Kim C.

    This is the mindset of the people at the FRC: if it ain’t normal, it’s overtly and deliberately weird and/or sexual.
    A stereotypical cisgendered heterosexual man goes to work wearing a shirt, pants, and/or tie and jacket.
    This is the norm, and as such it is a vision that slides past our eyes. Add or subtract anything from that so that “stereotypical cisgendered heterosexual” cannot apply means that someone is imposing themselves on someone else.
    Get it? So if I’m a man, and I wear that outfit, I’m normal, heterosexual, and therefore not imposing my sexuality on anyone, because heterosexuals cannot impose their sexuality upon anyone. But if I’m a woman, and I wear that outfit, especially with the tie and a short haircut, I could be a lesbian, in which case I am flaunting my sexuality.
    And the thing is, “transgendered” is the equivalent of “abnormal sexuality” (read: anything other than heterosexual) because “cisgendered” and “heterosexual” can only exist together. It’s not possible to have a straight transperson, clearly.
    This is why I cannot stand these people: they have put up this binary of “normal” and “abnormal”, and only the latter “imposes” itself on the former deliberately. Because of course, a group of straight, cisgendered people would never impose themselves upon transpeople, amiright, FRC?

  • paperispatient

    be allowed to wear whatever they damn well please, but will also be given trainings on transgender issues.
    That’s really fantastic! Who will be providing the trainings? Like, will someone from an LGBT rights group come into do presentations? My only concern would be that the people doing the trainings be really educated about trans issues and able to answer questions.

  • Dena

    This is definitely an important policy change. They were definitely asking transgender people to cover, which is not fair at all.
    Now, I wonder how this will all pan out. Hopefully, it works out well for the employees and American Eagle as a whole. They’ll definitely grow stronger from this.

  • dark_morgaine

    Clearly, transphobia is still a problem in our society, that this would be an issue to begin with. Norms can change. I mean, my mother wasn’t allowed to wear pants to school until all the girls in her district wore jeans to protest (because, what, they’re going to expel everyone?). If a male-bodied person, cis- or transgendered, came in wearing a dress, why should anyone care? It’s a garment that covers his genitals (because we have issues with the human body) just as well as pants, perhaps better in some cases. Why are people so afraid of gender bending? Well, I know why: fears of the Other, etc. Point is, its stupid.
    Maybe I’m not being sensitive enough to that perspective, but frankly, I don’t care, because the people who perpetuate anti-ENDA propaganda are not being sensitive to my views, and more importantly, they are not being sensitive to the transgendered community.
    This isn’t completely related, but I am still fuming about Family Guy from last Sunday. Majorly transphobic! Several characters seemed incapable of separating homosexual from transgender in their heads, and everyone speculated about how “gross” this is. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I felt that this was plain transphobia and not “holding up a mirror to society and showing how society is ugly” or whatever McFarlane claims he does.

  • Dawn.

    Good news. I’m always a fan of anti-trans policies being struck down.
    The FRC is shameful and ignorant, as usual. They equate anything that’s not cisgender and/or heterosexual with sex because duh, if you’re not cisgender and heterosexual you’re just a nasty perv, not really a human being, and everything you do is sexual, because again, you’re not really a human being. Thanks for clearing that up, douche-bags.
    And The Cross-Dresser Protection Act? Really?? Your desperate hatred is showing, FRC. Maybe you wanna handle that.