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Just when you started to have a glimmer of hope for humanity, someone always swoops in to ruin it. Today’s culprit is In Touch Weekly magazine, which released the cover for its latest edition. The results? Yeah, they’re more than just a little offensive.
For months, there has been speculation surrounding Bruce Jenner’s changing appearance with many people guessing that the Olympian cum reality star is transitioning to become a woman. Bruce hasn’t confirmed any of this, but rumors have been swirling that he had his Adam’s apple shaved down, and paparazzi images of him with a longer coif and painted nails have done nothing to quell speculation.
But this right here? This is just plain wrong. Bruce is pictured on the magazine’s cover decked out in full-on lady regalia. In Touch Photoshopped an image of the reality star with a full face of makeup; blush, lipstick, the works, finishing the look with a silk scarf wrapped around his neck. The cover is supremely transphobic and insensitive. TMZ says ex-wife Kris Jenner is furious over the cover and has allegedly told close friends, “It’s just mean to do whether or not it’s true.” We’d have to agree.
The accompanying story claims that Bruce is ready to come out and will do so for the cover of LGBT magazine The Advocate. Quotes from phantom sources say, “He wants to look as glamorous as possible — full makeup with a bold wardrobe. He won’t live his new life in designer clothes like the Kardashian women. He just wants his first official portrait as a woman to be classic and memorable.”
Transitioning can be an emotionally trying and awkward situation for those going through it and to publish a cover basically mocking one man’s journey is the height of insensitivity. Besides, until Bruce confirms that he is undergoing this process, it is quite presumptuous of In Touch to publish a story like this. Sure, much of the “news” celebrity tabloids put out isn’t real anyway, but this cover seems to be more about ridiculing the man than anything else. It’s wrong. And it’s a huge misstep on In Touch‘s part. Although we wonder if the people who approved this highly offensive cover knew just how problematic it is, but went with it anyway to sell copies.
Either way, they’re wrong for this and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a lawsuit coming the magazine’s way on behalf of Mr. Jenner.
Saks Fifth Avenue shouldn’t be surprised if it sees fewer members of the LGBT community and their supporters in its stores. The retailer came under fire during a lawsuit filed by a former employee, Leyth O. Jamal, who claims she was fired from her position at one of the store’s Texas locations in 2012 for being a trans woman. Saks’ lawyers want to dismiss the suit on the basis that transgendered people are not included under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects people against employment discrimination based on sex and other factors.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice both agree that trans people are covered under the law. The CEO of Hudson’s Bay, Saks’ parent company, spoke to The New York Times about the issue, denying any wrongdoing. “In the strongest terms, I want to underscore that Saks Fifth Avenue did not discriminate against the plaintiff,” he said. “It’s preposterous to think that in any way Saks Fifth Avenue is anything but a strong advocate for L.G.B.T. rights.” Saks itself is backpedaling on its assertion that trans people are not included in the Title VII listing, while doubling down on its semantics at the same time.
Saks says it does support the LGBT community, but while it believes all people are protected from sex discrimination, Jamal’s suit is different because it covers transgender identity. Saks is going along with the decision of a few courts that have claimed trans people are excluded from this measure, in spite of the fact that several other courts have ruled differently.
The Human Rights Campaign suspended Saks’ high Corporate Equality Index score in light of these developments last week and now that Saks has essentially dug its heels in the mud, we don’t think that high rating will be restored anytime soon. HRC’s Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement, “For more than two years, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has considered discrimination based on gender identity actionable. This latest development further undermines Saks’ credibility and standing with the LGBT community – indeed, its standing with any consumer committed to equality.”
[via NYT, tFS inbox]