Professional Attire and the Stud

This is a developing blog. I will cover several areas and provide you with resources for getting you the masculine into some non casual gear.


s&m said...

all the butch women i've gone out with have femmed it up for interviews, because they don't want to confuse possible employers about their gender if their appearance doesn't match the name on their resume and because they don't want to bring their gender/sexual politics into the office before they get hired. (after they get hired, it's another story, they come to work as themselves, lol) so it was a little strange to see you looking so masculine going to a job interview. do you think going to a job interview being obviously butch marginilizes you even further? if it does, do you care?

A. Jasper said...

I haven't dressed feminine for a very long time. I don't think I would be interested in working somewhere that couldn't stomach my gender presentation. So far as feeling marginalized do really you think my attire is the only thing that marginalizes me. If I put a dress on, I still look like a dude, in a dress. There's not too many ways around it. I'm still a person of colour and I'm still a woman. I think the cards are stacked. In the american workplace. Queer just rounds it off.

But as it were, I dress clean. I'm not wearing a ill fitting suit that I got off the sale rack at daffy's. I take the time to wear a tailored shirt and suit. More than likely I go without a tie but I buy both buisness and casual wear that accomadates me as who I am.

I think that's whats missing from a lot of the stud/butches closets. We try to make men's clothes fit us which is cool for casual wear as it is unisex but professional wear has to be cut, sewn, and hemmed to give the "clean" appearance and not "I'm wearing my fathers old suit" look.

We must remember that much like the large men we have breasts and that changes the dimensions of how we can wear dress shirts. Which means we buy larger shirts to adjust which looks CRAZY. Take a trip to mens wearhouse or some other tailor and get your collar size, your sleeve length and although the shirts will be a little more form fitting they will be your size.

That equals CLEAN.

s-&-m said...

hey i wrote a response to your email. check your email.

Anonymous said...

I only went for a job interview once dressed feminine and I didnt get the job. After that experience, I decided to dress more masculine and I always nailed it and got the job afterwards. Being masculine and appearing "butch" in my interviews helped my employer identify with what type of person I am and I was able to sell myself because I was 100% comfortable.

eda said...
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Mr. Emily said...

Hey, good luck with your interview!

I'd say I'm more of a genderqueer than a butch, but when it comes to interview drag, I always wear menswear - a full men's suit, jacket, tie, etc... I came to the conclusion early on that no matter how much doing so risked confusing potential employers, the sight of me attempting to pull off a pencil skirt & heels would undoubtedly act as a greater impediment to my employment prospects than the sight of me in a professionalized version of my authentic gender presentation. This being said, I had a battery of interviews for summer positions at firms during my second year of law school over the course of which it became increasingly clear to me that my qualifications were often overshadowed by prospective employers' concerns about the way in which my gender presentation might be received by fellow employees and, more importantly, clients. It is a long story, but it's enough to say that during one of my callbacks, a partner at a large international firm actually asked me (in a roundabout way and over lunch, no less) whether I had had gender reassignment surgery (since then I have come to understand that this is against a California law prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of disability, not gender).

All of this being said, I recommend against using the "bait and switch" method described by s&m - there is a complicated mythological notion that those of us with non-standard gender identities and/or presentations are on some sort of crusade to defraud the rest of the world as to who we "really" are, and it is not unheard of for employers to constructively condition offers of employment on the professionalism (as they define it) exhibited by a prospective employee during an interview. In short, people have been fired for this, and sadly, absent local legislation, it is perfectly legal to fire someone for their gender presentation or gender identity in 38 states, and it is perfectly legal to fire someone for their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation in 29 states. Of course, this means they could decline to hire you on the same basis, but I think for me the discomfort of trying to "femme it up" outweighs the discomfort of knowing that appearing in the professional incarnation of my authentic gender may cost me the job in the first place.

All of this is really to underscore the importance of federal legislation protecting individuals form employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, and as luck would have it, the House of Representatives is getting poised for major action on the fully-inclusive 2009 version of ENDA . . . right now! Representatives need to hear from their constituents how important it is for the Federal Government to extend this basic protection to sexual and gender minorities. You can help by contacting yours - HRC has a form you can access at to make this easier.

I think it's hard enough for many people to sport "professional" drag in the first place, but that's something everyone has to deal with. But since no one has been asking my cysgender, straight, masculine-presenting dad to wear high heels when he shows up to work in the morning, I'd appreciate it if the law respected me enough to afford me the same courtesy. Please contact your representatives today and let them know how vitally important it is for them to support the fully-inclusive version of ENDA. One day, we should all have to worry about which suit we should wear to work and not whether wearing one will prevent us from having a job in the first place.

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