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Roketsune ([personal profile] roketsune) wrote2017-04-11 10:22 pm
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Entering the Femboy Lifestyle 7: Discrimination- Laws, Concepts, Early Maneuvering

Updated 28 March 2017

Addendum As Trump was elected and he has deemed it favorable to appoint some of the most inept and anti-LGBT people he could find to fill cabinet positions (the people who lead various federal agencies), AND the Democrats failed to stop their confirmations (I thought for sure they'd filibuster), some of what I wrote is or will soon become outdated. I believe housing and HUD is unaffected and might not change during his tenure, but much or most of everything else regarding federal agencies is or will soon be outdated. I will make appropriate revisions in the future.

Federal court interpretation I doubt has changed or will change in the near future, though if Trump's nominees for vacancies follow the same track as cabinet ministers, this will be jeopardized. It'll still be an option, but the rate of failure will rise since a higher proportion of judges will be bigoted Republicans.

Addendum 2 Much of this will need to be revised to reflect my greater literary and tactical proficiency and awareness. I was less perceptive and less experienced last year, and have gained much experience and insight since then.

Addendum 3 The EEOC and HUD are on the same track now that they were during Obama (though some circuits momentarily are against the EEOC on sexual orientation). However, Trump and Sessions fucked us over royally regarding Title IX's enforcement by the DoE and DoJ. While one may still sue (and it seems successfully) via Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in federal court, the DoJ and DoE seems to have withdrawn from the process.

I don't know the federal processes and regulations well enough to predict competently, but Sessions and the DoJ could soon conspire with Carson from HUD to end their transgender/GNC protections as well. I've read HUD cannot change its policies as readily as other agencies, and the NYT article did say Sessions needed the other one's cooperation, so maybe my and other transpeoples' HUD cases will continue undisrupted until their natural conclusion. I'm definitely uneasy, though.

Discrimination: Laws, Concepts, and Early Maneuvering

In the previous chapter, I described in great detail the general concept of self-defense and the various manners of accomplishing it, while also stressing heavily violence is very uncommon generally even in a comparatively violent and anti-LGBT country such as America. It is very unlikely you as an out femboy will be assaulted for that or any other reasons. What is FAR more likely to happen is a different form of aggression, one that is generally not violent but potentially at least as destructive and debilitating. Discrimination against LGBT individuals is rather rampant in at least the USA, and even worse against transgender and gender non-conforming people, and worst of all against trans women and girly males (guess patriarchalism and misogyny is still much in existence, but not as blatant). I recently had to relocate under fire because a landlord grew tired of my crossdressing and the furry accessorizing and thought I would be dealt with swiftly and quickly if I resisted him. He found out I was actually a very dangerous and dedicated opponent who knew the legal system far better than he did, and he will learn I have remedies even if HUD's investigation concluded no discrimination took place. This saga, however, gave me a substantial amount of knowledge and insight I can now impart to you, and I am especially suited for this because I am at heart a tactician and these contests are really in the end legal warfare and maneuvering. Since I do not work and my experience pertains to housing, a substantial portion will pertain to housing and HUD. Most of the concepts and maneuvers can be applied to any realm, of course.

Legal Concepts

The key to properly responding to discriminatory action is knowing what constitutes such under the law and whether what you experienced can be addressed. You neither wish to go to war with someone who has committed no crime, nor decline to do so when you could have had the system exact vengeance upon them on your behalf. As this is a treatise on being a femboy, the focus will be on gender identity. As I am American and the overwhelming majority of furries are American, the focus will be on American law.

Bathroom Usage: A Commentary on a Current and Emergent Issue

I commented on this in Clothing and Accessories, and I'll do it here since it's also very pertinent to this section... Especially if you have no desire to use the female bathroom, ignore these laws even if you live in one of these states. If you live in NC or somewhere else these thoroughly idiotic laws were passed, if you still wish to use the men's bathroom (assuming you're biologically male and not a FtM aspiring femboy), there is absolutely nothing conceivably legal that could be done within the specifics of these laws even if a police officer arrived immediately after you entered and verified your biological anatomy. A huge reason for these recent and stupid uproars (besides religious conservatives being dimwitted in general) is the fear predatory males will invoke gender identity protection and casually stroll into the women's rooms and cause mayhem. There seems to be no real outrage over the prospect of the reverse happening. The other reason is just general anti-trans bias, and most assuredly the more of a flamer you are the more of that sentiment you will incite in people. However, this general scenario of males in male bathrooms doesn't incite fear in people and 99% or more of people will keep their disapproval to themselves. I have pissed and crapped and refreshed makeup many times in male-only bathrooms in both suburban and urban areas, and have yet to encounter disapproval.

Even if you had gone into the women's bathroom and somehow had a cop confirm you used the wrong one after catching you red-handed (and how likely do you think it is a cop would be right there investigating these matters, or even be told of a potential violation in the first place?), the NC law has no punishment listed anyway and thus it is only symbolic in that regard. Additionally, while many women and their male protectors are indeed both hysterical and fully anti-trans, once they see a very girly person casually using the bathroom for legitimate purposes, most will ignore the person, and a few maybe will leave momentarily. I seriously doubt there would be noticeable objection to me using the other bathroom even though I am quite detectably a male in my face and voice. If you're not creepy and awkward and act like you belong in either place, you will not have a problem if you don't live in a shithole.

The more likely scenario is either your place of employment or your school decides you don't conform enough to the gender norms of whatever bathroom you prefer (and very possibly to both unless you're passable), and those general areas of life and applicable laws will be discussed in great detail. However, these new laws that Republicans are passing in a fit of ignorant hysteria, don't pay attention to them. They change nothing legally or culturally. Everyone will continue to not care where you pee and crap and freshen up, and literally 1 in a million will be found out and charged because these fucking laws aren't enforceable anyway.

Multiple Levels of Jurisdiction: Local, State, Federal, International

Unless you are dealing with a governmental agency, a place and person is subject to several levels of laws, and must not run afoul of laws on all levels if they are to be not guilty of a crime. Any given location is subject to local (city or county), state, and federal regulations. If you are European, you might have redress at an international level since the members of the EU seem bound by certain EU-level laws and courts. If you're American, you don't have an international option. Even if federal law and state law do not protect you in a given scenario, you would be protected if the county or city has deemed that act illegal. Some cities protect the classes of gender identity and sexual orientation in addition to the default ones in employment, housing, and local government services. If I had no federal protection but my former residence was within such a city or town, I could have fought an eviction attempt and even sued her on the basis of discrimination in the lower level courts. The reverse was true, so I had to invoke federal protection in my local hearing while HUD investigated.

A critical thing to note is a lower level may be more inclusive than the higher levels, but never less so. So, a city couldn't decide to remove, say, disability as a protected class, but it could add classes to its discrimination laws as well as expand its definition of 'disability' beyond what the Fair Housing Act and HUD define it as. There is one caveat to this: I am moderately sure that state and federal installations within a city wouldn't necessarily have to obey the city's laws in that regard. If the federal government didn't protect sexual orientation, I don't think it could be forced to do so in those more inclusive locations. I am far from certain, but, the federal organization might be able to legally ignore state and local laws. It becomes even murkier if territory is owned by the federal government and is deemed a 'federal enclave', especially if a federal agency isn't the entity in question.

Laws and regulations of a higher level by default supersede lower ones if the company, person, or entity in question take funds from the higher level. For example, if an entity takes funding from HUD in any way, they are subject to HUD's agency regulations in addition to the FHA. If a school takes funding directly or indirectly from the Dept. of Education or some related program, they are subject to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Generally, taking taxpayer money commits one to playing by that level's and that agency's rules. There are many other examples of this too numerous to name. Thus, even if an entity would have been immune to anti-discrimination laws and actions, it may well be successfully prosecuted if it can be shown they have taken public funding. Remember this if you must fight someone. Also, the relevant laws generally forbid someone from retaliating for pursuing a discrimination complaint or exercising rights, so even if you fail to prove your original case you might be able to prevail on that ground.

Protection Under 'Gender Identity' Versus 'Gender/Sex'

On a federal level, there aren't any laws which specifically include gender identity and sexual orientation. Some federal agencies have included those categories in their policies regarding their own employees and the programs they oversee. The laws that grant them the authority to run programs, interpret the laws, and determine whether discrimination has taken place, however, only go as far as to list Sex or Gender. Especially for transgender and gender non-conforming people, this actually isn't much of a problem right now, and I will explain why.

The classes of 'Sexual Orientation' and 'Gender Identity' are very unambiguous. If they were enshrined in a federal law, the agencies charged with investigating and enforcing could not say, "Well, we don't consider gender identity to include femboys and crossdressing." or, "Homosexuality is not a sexual orientation." They and most of the country would have to respect gays, femboys, etc and there would be no avoiding that lawfully (unless the person or entity is exempt; I'll get into that a bit later). This would be ideal for the LGBT community. Some states and local areas have added those classes to their own laws. There is a proposed all-encompassing federal law called the Equality Act, but currently it cannot be passed because our legislative system is garbage and Republicans are too numerous (if you're upset I'm being political again, hahaha, it gets worse). Perhaps later in 2016 it will happen...

'Sex' and 'Gender' (I think the laws generally say 'Sex') are more open to interpretation, as counter-intuitive as that might sound. It's not merely as simple as treating someone differently for having a penis or a vagina, as apparently 'sex' and 'gender' were not explicitly defined. Obviously, when these lawmakers passed the original legislation in the 60's and 70's, they had no other understanding than males and females who looked like males and females because there wasn't a real transgender movement, and thus didn't see it as important to define the words. The interpretation of the parameters have been broadened for females, to include such things as becoming pregnant, being the victim of domestic abuse, and sexual harassment (though that now also covers males). In the last several years due to changes in popular attitude and Democrats enjoying success in the highest levels of government, the agencies charged with enforcement and interpretation have expanded the definition to include not behaving or appearing as would be normal for their sex.

The rationale is as follows... Gender/Sex is a protected class. If a boy has long hair and wears skirts, and they are fired/evicted/whatever because they are not behaving or dressing as a male supposedly should, it is related to Sex. They were acted against because they are male and chose to resemble a female. Thus, it is Sex-based discrimination. This also is sometimes applied to cover sexual orientation. A male is desirous of sexual relations with other males. Their employer/landlord/whoever acted against them because they believe it is wrong for someone with a penis to lust for others with penises. Thus, it is related to Sex/Gender, and thus it is discrimination for that reason. This works well enough for femboys/trans/GNC (gender non-conforming) people and sometimes for gays and bisexuals (and heterosexuals if a gay person only wanted gays or whatever) as long as the relevant agencies are run by liberals and conservative douchebags cannot replace them. If the worst happens and Cruz is made President (and they seem to have a great deal of power deciding on department heads here in the USA), and his party retains a majority in Congress, those protections will likely end in short order because the laws don't define Sex/Gender to include what I just discussed, or add those aforementioned classes. Federal courts have also at times interpreted Sex/Gender in this way or upheld an agency's or lower court's decision, though Congress and the President also decide federal judges and soon the legal system would cease offering that protection sooner or later as well.

Who and What Protects Me Federally?

The precise law and agency which apply depend on your set of circumstances. The general scenarios (gender is the focus, but sometimes sexual orientation is protected by the quoted laws as well), and the appropriate legislation and tasked agency, are as follows:

  • Housing (general): The law is Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, commonly called the Fair Housing Act or FHA. The responsible office is Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), within Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If there is a state or local housing enforcement agency which has laws/policies similar to or better than the FHA and HUD's interpretation of it (pretty much, if they are LGBT-inclusive), they are the responsible agency instead, though HUD will intervene if they send it to them or they tarry. Also, you may go to federal court immediately, or after HUD denies a complaint. This is the HUD complaint process.
  • Employment (private sector, state and local government): The law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The agency for Title VII is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Additionally, the Department of Justice states one may go to them when the accused is a state or local government agency. Note that generally an employer needs to have 15 or more employees to be subject to Title VII. This is the main page pertaining to general protections for LGBT members of the workforce.
  • Employment (federal agencies): The laws and orders are The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (note that this also bans discrimination for anything not pertaining to performance, so merely being a furry/brony would be protected), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Executive Orders 11478 and 13672 (latter is an alteration of the former). The responsible agencies for the 1978 law (only one of the two following agencies may be chosen if using that ground) are the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). The agency for the 1964 law is the EEOC, though one needs to go to that agency's EEO counselor rather than the EEOC directly. The one for the order for federal agencies rather than contractors, I am not sure of. One may pursue a complaint on multiple grounds for the same incident, and the process is laid out here. Note that federal agencies are subject to the quoted laws regardless of number of employees. This is an overview of the protections and process for complaining.
  • Employment (Dept. of Education-funded programs and places): If your place of employment is an educational facility which takes federal funding, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is an applicable law. Note well that religious institutions, military schools, and places that have been traditionally one-sex are exempt from this law even if they take funding. The entity which addresses discrimination for this is the Office for Civil Rights within the Department of Education.
  • Education: The applicable law is Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Note well that it only covers programs, schools, and other facilities which take educational federal funding (though the vast majority of public K-12 schools do), and that religious, military, and traditionally one-sex schools are exempt from the law even when receiving federal funding (yeah, that's shitty and it surprised me). Also note this law protects parents and employees as well, making it in effect an employment discrimination bill as well. The entity which addresses discrimination for this is the Office for Civil Rights within the Department of Education. There is a nice advisory piece from a transgender organization here. Also note sexual harassment- rather than discrimination in general- on the basis of sexual orientation, is considered prohibited by the DoE, but a recent case and federal trends should compel them to fully modernize soon.
  • Public Accommodations: Astonishingly, there are none that apply, as Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not include gender/sex and other categories. Actually, several other sections and laws leave out one or more categories which are usually taken for granted. However, if your local or state level has laws pertaining to this which include sex/gender but not gender identity, you may succeed by using a defense on the former.

Core Tactical and Strategic Concepts

You have been provided with the classes femboys would be protected under, the laws which would protect you in most scenarios, and which entity precisely to go to. There are certain principles and concepts which are applicable regardless of what area you are facing discrimination in, and regardless of what agency you are going to for redress. In scenarios you have more intimate and prolonged contact with the enemy- such as employment and housing- there will be some differences in experience and tactics, but these basic concepts will apply regardless.

Establishing Motivation: Verify, Verify, VERIFY!

To even have an investigation go onto the next level- let alone prevail in court- it is indispensable to prove that the motivation for your eviction/firing/whatever was discriminatory. It is not enough to merely accuse someone of taking action because you are an overt femboy. While your testimony will be a factor in a case, you need to prove they at least likely acted against you for that with evidence. Preferably, this evidence will be the accused's own words and deeds over one of the three media: written/typed, video, or audio. Testimony is not at all ironclad evidence and could even backfire if the one you call lies or performs badly. If the person you are accusing can be read or heard making transphobic slurs or admitting your crossdressing is unacceptable or whatever else along the same lines, no amount of testimony in the world can overcome that. Audio or video is superior to written since it leaves no room for doubt of authenticity, though written definitely is better than testimony alone and is far easier to submit to a court or investigation, and in some areas surreptitiously recording conversations you are a member of is illegal. This is a concept I wish to extremely heavily impress to all: YOU NEED TO CAPTURE THE ENEMY ADMITTING HIS/HER GUILT. If you do not have this moment, your campaign will either fail or require much more resources to succeed. I learned this the hard way due to forgetting to record the first conversation with my former landlord after he decided to expel me.

As I threatened to go to HUD in that first conversation with her, she was on notice and changed how she described the situation when speaking to me afterwards. My audio evidence is still valuable and it allows me to demonstrate her counter-accusations are implausible and that she disliked the feminine qualities of my dress, but me being a furry paired with her subsequent evasiveness greatly complicated the campaign. There is no 'smoking gun' moment I can easily present now. I have to present several moments over several recordings to demonstrate the points I need to. I had to repeatedly pressure her to tell me exactly what about my outfit she objected to for me to get her admissions, and the investigator noted this and seemed put off by it though I didn't do anything wrong. The witness to another event long before this evidently lied to the investigator. Combined with having an incompetent and seemingly antipathetic investigator, the determination was there was insufficient evidence. Had I recorded the first conversation, I could have easily demonstrated even to a moron she objected to my crossdressing regardless of variant (I will get more into that soon) and this was why I was being evicted.

I will delve into the actual maneuvering in another section. However, always remember that you need to  prove your accusation of motive, and it is very imperative you disprove the likely counter-accusations of poor behavior or performance. You might still prevail if the enemy's accusations as well as yours are deemed to have likely happened (a local magistrate found both to be true when I contested my eviction), but it will quite possibly reduce your awards and might permit your firing/eviction in the early stages if local or state laws allow such actions for any reason besides pure discrimination. If there is trouble starting to happen, you should be recording every conversation you have with the person in question, and do so covertly.

Are You Handing Ammunition to the Enemy?

While proving discriminatory motivation is of paramount importance, your second priority (assuming you were well behaved) is disproving or mitigating claims made in defense that you were disruptive, lazy, or otherwise unpleasant to deal with. They might not be able to legally get rid of you for being a femboy, but they can if you behaved atrociously or were terrible at your job. I value honor very highly and thus I am not encouraging you to be dishonest when refuting accusations. However, assuming the accusations are false or made without proper context, you need to prove they are wrong or misleading, preferably with the enemy's own words. Be mindful that while you might overall be able to prove your conduct/competence/whatever was never a factor in their decision, their defense will gain plausibility if they can present messages or other evidence of you being enraged and aggressive, regardless of how justified it is.

Make no mistake, especially if/when you get to trial: you are at war. If they are bigots they are even more prone to deliberately mislead people about you to prevail. They and their lawyer won't give a damn about your attempts to be forthright and fair. They will exaggerate incidents, fabricate problems after the fact, and possibly even persuade witnesses to lie about you due to loyalty or fear. If you elect to posture and strike out at the enemy soon after they discriminate, they WILL use that against you, and then you need to conduct damage control. Of course, they will never explain to the investigator or court that you were belligerent only after they made a series of threats and dissolved an agreement you two had, or whatever your situation is. They will just demonstrate you were an aggressive jerk and assert you normally are an aggressive jerk. My landlord did this in magistrate court, making numerous accusations about my behavior and showing the judge an especially provocative message I sent to him after he made various threats and claims which included being friends with judges. I almost had to appeal to stave off eviction because the judge was bothered by this, though I did just well enough to cause her to postpone while HUD investigated.

If at all possible, you need to prove with their own words they never saw your performance or behavior as problematic. The second best method is demonstrating through their failures to mention problems of that nature up to that critical moment, that whatever it is they fault you for now was not a concern. Of course, no one is perfect, no one is completely compatible with everyone, and sometimes flukes happen. Explain special circumstances behind incidents that were raised, and be truthful and admit fault if you did commit some sort of transgression. If you were angry and counter-postured post-incident after many provocations, explain this and provide evidence for your explanation if possible. Judges and juries will place far less stock in some behavioral accusation your enemy proves correct if it was done after the firing/eviction/whatever and they were the belligerent fuckwad for the entire time between then and your outburst.

Prepare For Initial Defeat- Federal Protection/Reinforcement Usually is Belated

Assuming the main incident is termination of employment or tenancy (very severe compared to other possibilities, aside from police misconduct) and neither are funded or run by a federal agency, the unfortunate reality is the federal process probably will be very separate from the local/state levels. Especially in matters of housing, you will probably have to fight the landlord on the state or local level and have to understand both those laws and the federal ones. It's very possible that if your employer fires you, you can't actually suspend or have countermanded that decision either legally or through a company's appeals mechanism. The federal process might come through for you only after having lost your job or place of residence. In short, you may very well win the war and profit from their misdeeds in the end, but you will possibly be swept from the field and made to retreat in the initial stages.

For example, my situation was I was a month-to-month tenant in a house with a landlord who did not receive federal funding. While I complained to HUD for gender discrimination, they did not forcefully block the landlord's eventual court actions to evict me. I was entirely on my own with regards to finding representation and knowledge, and I had to face off against him alone in the lowest level court here in my state: Magistrate Court. Here, landlords in month-to-months must give 60 days' notice, and the reason for termination can literally be anything BUT discriminatory. I won in court the first time due to her trying too soon. The second time, I should have prevailed because the buffoon declined to enter a reason for seeking eviction, but the judge ignored that defense, and we went to my discrimination defense. I showed the judge the documents which proved gender expressions fall under Sex federally because this information seemed little-known even to trans people, and I think the judge wasn't aware of that until that moment. I then had to prove both she behaved in a discriminatory manner, AND that there was no other plausible reason. I failed to achieve the latter for reasons I will describe further down, and had the judge not been convinced the former was also at play and had there been no HUD investigation, I would have lost. However, she stayed the case awaiting HUD's findings, allowing me to not have to appeal while I finished relocation. HUD very indirectly saved me, and provided otherwise zero advantage or reinforcement.

Precautionary Tactics and Maneuvering

To maximize your chances of success should you have to report and maybe sue for discrimination, you should be prepared for the possibility from the beginning, rather than react and plot only after something has happened. It also helps to be intelligent and have a talent for tactics and strategy like I am/do. If you are armed with knowledge of laws and processes beforepaw and have preserved all relevant conversations and missives by the time a war starts in earnest, you will be excellently situated to respond and eventually win. If you suddenly have to take a crash course in laws and customs and do the other things necessary to prove a case during an emergency, you will emotionally and in general be in an atrocious situation.

Importance of Understanding Local/State Laws and Court Customs

As I described above, the initial battles quite possibly will happen in a lower-level courtroom rather than a federal court. Unless there are laws or regulations which can be used to prevent an employment termination from being carried out immediately, you probably won't be able to delay a termination and will only respond to it afterwards. Housing is another matter, as in the modern era every location has protections in place for tenants who would contest an eviction, and housing is considered more imperative and immediately urgent. Other scenarios would have already happened and thus be irreversible, and thus would be purely a matter of punishing them afterwards. Regardless of what your situation is, you should have at least a moderate understanding of what your sub-federal protections are and how to utilize them, and then do enhanced research if you need to (or feel compelled to in the absence of any conflict).

There are a couple of core concepts to point out which are applicable to someone regardless of their location. The first is, there is a level of local court which is designed for the majority of people to quickly and easily have a grievance addressed, and in which it is more feasible to fight an opponent without an attorney. Some areas call it Small Claims, others such as mine Magistrate Court. Chances are if you're fighting a landlord, you will first end up here. The advantages are it is more 'user-friendly', less expensive, and allows someone who cannot afford a lawyer to contest a matter without being almost guaranteed a humiliating defeat. A huge disadvantage is because the process is more simplified and expedited, things like audio evidence and other evidence which is complex either cannot be admitted or is only partially usable. You also don't have much chance to put on a case or correct mistakes, and the course of a hearing in that level quite possibly will be as much dictated by law and regulation as it is the judge's personal preference. In higher levels, attorneys are more or less necessary for most, but the structure and process is much more uniform and friendly to those with elaborate cases. As cases are much shorter and interaction with the judge more intimate, you may either be helped or hindered depending on your psychological and personality characteristics and the circumstances of the case.

The second thing (which is somewhat related to the first) is, a landlord cannot legally immediately expel you generally. There may be varying exceptions within which that is permissible. In my home state, a tenant can only be immediately removed if they're committing a crime in the home (including drug use) and the police come in and arrest them, and in that circumstance it's not a typical eviction requiring the usual process. Assuming you're a good boy and not doing illegal things, the only way you can be lawfully evicted is through an order of the court called a 'writ of possession' after a hearing. A landlord could have your things removed and the locks changed while you're at work or whatever (and I suggest you ponder that scenario and how to preclude it), but then they would be in blatant violation of the law and that could be pretty rapidly addressed. You need to be summoned to a hearing, respond, have a judge rule against you, and then not appeal before the order goes into effect, before you would be forced to leave. If you are in a lease rather than month-to-month, the landlord additionally has to prove you broke a term of the lease and quite possibly ALSO prove you were given a chance to correct it first.

If you are in a more liberal area, you may be able to seek redress in a lower court/process, and not necessarily have to rely on a federal agency and court which might be backlogged much more severely. The federal process is there if you need it, but I suspect it would be more efficient to go to a lower level first if you can. Depending on your area, some levels of court within a state are not able to grant injunctions or 'equitable relief', and you'd only be getting a monetary reward if you go that route despite that. For example, here the non-appellate levels are: Magistrate, State, Superior. Only in Superior could I be given an order for more than money and things. There are also differences in regulations and customs for whatever tiers of court a state has. There are many variables to consider and I cannot possibly cover them all here. I would suggest visiting a law library for your area if there is one, or maybe a regular one if it has legal texts. Things like laws and ordinances should be available online for free, but the more obscure or specialized things might only be found in hard book form or in a repository online you have to pay for.

Finally, you need to understand what your state's laws are on recording other interlocutors. The federal system and 38 states have laws which are known as "one-party", meaning only one interlocutor needs to consent for the conversation to be lawfully recorded. The other 12 are either "two/all-party" or have unique stances. California, Florida, and Pennsylvania are three large states who have banned this tactic unless all consent (and few will incriminate themselves, or even take kindly to the suggestion, if asked to consent). I find this deplorable because it facilitates the oppression of citizens and the concealment of crimes, but I alas don't run this dysfunctional nation. If you live in a state where you may not record conversations without all people's consent in your situation, you will have to resort to inciting useful comments in written communications from foes and those who aren't predictable. Of course, someone who is doing wrong will not be as likely to admit guilt in writing, whereas most don't even conceive the idea they might be recorded in face-to-face verbal discussions. This seems to be the best list of recording laws. Remember, though, that you can still record them since it would be impossible for anyone to know at the time (just don't let anyone see your screen while turning on/off the sound recorder app), and you will thus be able to review any verbal conversations for things you may have forgotten and to reinforce your testimony. The files themselves would be inadmissible evidence at least on a local/state level and possibly also on the federal level, as well as utterly irrefutable evidence of your own crime should you ever present them.

Alienate Hostile Landlords/Employers Preemptively

I'm sure that title often evokes confusion or images of one being an aggressive jerk immediately upon meeting them. What I mean by that is, don't dress 'normally' when you meet a prospective landlord or employer. Sure, you will not be accepted by people who are bigoted and allow that to corrupt their decision-making process, and there are more transphobes (applicable even to femboys who don't identify as transgender) than there are merely homophobes. So, you might be rejected repeatedly before finding a suitable one. However, do you really want to be 'normal' when you first meet them and be accepted, only to be plunged into bitter fighting later on when they see you're highly effeminate (and God forbid if you're also furry or brony)? I have barely started this war with my old landlord as I write this after six months since the initial incident, and it will intermittently demand my attention and work for who knows how long. I know people often understand me as a combative tactician, but, this is NOT FUN. I could have invested those resources into other matters and have not been as encumbered emotionally if this had never happened. Save yourself the trouble and hide little or nothing from them, and that way whoever accepts you will be guaranteed to not be prejudiced. Wars never injure only the defeated opponent, and they will be much harder on those who aren't rich and powerful regardless (meaning, you and me).

Understand Official Company/Agency Policy

Whether you are contemplating attending a college, moving into a place, or working for someone, you ought to know not only what local and state laws apply, but also how this prospective place treats and views its LGBT members. While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 currently protects gender identity due to the responsible agency's interpretation of it and congruent court decisions, I doubt close to 100% of businesses are complying. In fact, I'm sure a good many companies in America don't have policies protecting gender identity and sexual orientation, and maybe assume they don't even have to refrain from firing them. Remember that laws merely dictate what is legal or illegal. Those laws must be enforced, and often they are not enforced until well after the damage is done. As I said just before, wars will exhaust and hurt the victor as well, and probably aren't worth the monetary rewards or satisfaction in the end. Don't allow yourself to enter into a hostile environment. Also, remember that while the people who initially receive and approve you may be inclusive, those who will be in authority may not be.

Preferably, a company on its website or brochures policy handbook or whatever will go out of its way to explain they stand by the LGBT community. If they do, then the question should be easily resolved immediately. If not, find the relevant policy or ask directly what it is. If their discrimination policies do not include gender identity/transgender specifically, this is a red flag and you ought to avoid them if possible. If you don't have that luxury, at least ask whoever your contact is or whoever their policy person is whether they understand Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers gender identity and mannerisms as per the EEOC's interpretation of Sex. If it's a DoE-funded educational facility you're going to for work or education (religious schools are exempt, but you'd be insane to approach one as a femboy anyway), ask if they understand gender identity/mannerisms are protected by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 as per the Department of Education's interpretation of Sex. If you're told they don't recognize such decisions and laws, if you are going to go with them anyway due to either necessity or stupidity, mobilize for war preemptively in case it happens.

Speaking of mobilizing, you should help yourself acquire the habit of covertly recording conversations right then. Probably the first one wouldn't help if you do have to fight them, but recording the first encounters (or doing as much of this through e-mail as possible if recording is banned) will allow you to review them for information you forgot or misinterpreted, and to generally review your verbal performance. Even when discrimination is non-existent at that time, if a conversation or meeting is important, record them so you can review them later on if you cannot remember everything, or have to prove something if there is some other problem. You will have reprogrammed yourself substantially to remember this tactic if and when there does start to be resistance to you being a femboy, and thus far less likely to forget during those critical early encounters where they will most severely incriminate themselves. You can easily record conversations covertly these days with a smartphone and a recording application (they should come with your phone by default, at least on Android phones). Try to record from a tablet/dedicated recorder/other device simultaneously as well, in case the phone defies your will.

Speaking of company policy, one thing you need to ascertain when you're planning to work for a company is their policies on covert recording. While the state's laws may permit the act, companies are often free to prohibit such a tactic and punish those who violate it and are discovered. If you do have to fight these people later on, if they foster corruption and secrecy by barring any recordings, know that if you are still employed by them or wish to return to work for them, presenting such evidence will likely permanently end/preclude that arrangement. They will still have to pay damages if they are proven in court to have made discriminatory demands, but the amount might be lowered and they probably couldn't be ordered to rehire or retain you since you broke their policy. Of course, they couldn't use it as a justification for adverse action until after they were made aware of the justified transgression. What and when you choose to do vis-a-vis employer recordings you will have to decide based on your set of circumstances, but remember this variable.

Early Stages of Conflict: Gather Evidence!

Hopefully it will never come to this. But, it might. Maybe your manager says you should not look so effeminate when dealing with customers, or your landlord says your crossdressing is potentially deterring new tenants from moving in, or your school says your girlishness or some aspect of it is distracting students. Hopefully it won't be a terminal (losing your job/home/school) encounter and you will have time to both mobilize counter-offensively and explore alternative venues. Either way, you're now on notice that you are being judged for being a femboy and they're liable to do something about it. You now need to start silently maneuvering and mobilizing, gathering evidence pertaining to their motive, your character, and their character. If they do not proceed or if measures short of outside intervention resolve it, great. If not, if you heed this and the rest of this section well, you will handily kick their asses sooner or later.

From the first incident onward, you need to have the capability of recording (again, assuming you legally can: don't wanna present evidence of YOUR crime along with evidence of theirs in open court!) on a moment's notice. If a landlord is the troublemaker, you will be having irregular interactions with some degree of expectation or notice most likely, so that will be an easier process. If work or school is the problem, you might opt to resort to recording constantly while there so that any and every noteworthy discriminatory or otherwise useful comment would be recorded (and train yourself to carry your phone somehow). This also would ensure if you are called to have an important conversation and you forget to turn your phone on, you will still have recorded it (again, CARRY YOUR PHONE AT ALL TIMES!!!). If you want to expend even more resources and can find a way to do it, go for wearable miniature video cameras and covertly film them as well for additional effect and irrefutability.

Here are the important tactics and concepts:
  • I actually wrote all of this before remembering some states outrageously ban one-party recording. I'm having to correct and clarify and add after that realization. If a paragraph is exclusively about audio recording, substitute that when applicable with "written". Also, when you are forced to use texts and e-mails in lieu of audio and there is an objection, give a truthful or even fabricated innocuous reason you need to rely on that. "I am uncomfortable and awkward speaking verbally and I have less difficulty here where I can take my time." would be a truthful one for me. "My voice is out due to illness." would be a probably-false one for either of us. I don't consider it unpardonable to be deceptive if you're forced to do this and you're not falsely incriminating them. Just don't remind them this is a more easily verifiable medium and you're planning to ambush them!
  •  If you have an impending meeting with someone and you are having difficulty remembering to record or you just wish to be 100% mega-ultra sure you are recording, turn it on when you remember, even if it is hours from the time of the meeting. Also, do something to ensure you cannot forget to take your phone. Like, keep the bag it is in on you always, or place the phone in a special location you must access to leave such as a door handle.
  • If your state is "two-party", those you believe are trustworthy allies, ask if you may record you and she/he speaking. You can also have them write whatever testimony or observations they have to offer on you and this situation and then sign it. If you have no allies you'll either have to chance this with someone whose loyalties and reaction you aren't fully certain of, or forego this entirely.
  • Oh, yes. If you are recording for vast amounts of time, you will really want to end your recording when the conversation ends (and in general you need to end it before your phone dies if you are to keep it), and note approximately how long the exchange lasted. If you forget to do both and you can't remember approximately when it happened, and verbal conversation is constant, you get to scan through the entire thing to locate it!
  • Your devices should have an appropriately sized SD card and Hard Drive, so it can save whatever data you will need. Furthermore, you should have these files saved onto each the SD and HD in that phone, plus your home computer and a virtual medium such as Google Drive. This way, even if you have even a horrible catastrophe, you will not lose all of your evidence.
  • When having one of these pivotal conversations that you are recording, adroitly incite them to say certain things which will benefit you. Remind them you have always had positive work evaluations, or you have always gotten along well with the other tenants on that floor (or in the house in my case), or that you have had no disciplinary problems and have high grades, or whatever. Remind them again or ask them to concur if they don't beneficially answer the first time (assuming this is the truth; don't dishonor yourself).
  • If there is a complicating factor in your case, such as you wearing furry/brony accessories or you having somehow misbehaved, it is imperative you have them admit that your crossdressing or whatever other feminine trait alone would have precipitated their confrontation or adverse action. You will still have a case if you prove they had discriminatory intent and committed a discriminatory action. However, the ease with which you can prove your case and the compensation you will receive will fall, and their defense will be more plausible if you don't have them undermine it on tape.
  • Related to the above, if you dress colorfully rather than settle for boring neutral and subdued crap so many seem apt to wear, this will exacerbate any bias people already have against male crossdressing, and they later on might try to use the defense you dressed abnormally for either gender, even deny you really dress as a female at all (yeah, my landlord went there). Thus, deliberately ask the person whether they would object if you still crossdressed but with less resplendence. If they say yes, they have defeated their own defense. If they say no, it's up to you to decide whether to acquiesce or to defend your fashion choices to a judge or investigator later, though I do comment on that concept later.
  • Speak to other people who are close to the situation and would thus be qualified witnesses. Casually discuss what is going on and ask questions which, if answered truthfully, would benefit you. You will want them on tape/e-mail/text telling you these things both to have supportive testimony in presentable form, and to later destroy their credibility if they turn against you due to fear of reprisal, loyalty to their superior, hatred of you, and some combination thereof.
  • Have people verbalize other things which would be beneficial to you in your set of circumstances. I have been stressing the importance of getting admissions of objection to your crossdressing or gender presentation in general, but you may be able to counterstroke on other grounds. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 bans discrimination for ANY reason not pertinent to job performance for federal employees, and a discrimination law might have the same standard in your area for all workers, or maybe for residents or students. If you're being accused of being too gay or whatever else, you can fight on grounds of sexual orientation. Gather and then fire at them as much ammunition as you possibly can within the bounds of reason and ethics.
  • Do not threaten to fight them, or reveal your knowledge of discrimination law and maneuvering, until you have gathered all evidence you will need to irrefutably prove your claim and/or there is no feasible alternative at that moment. If you appear as if you will be combative and invoke this and that, they might intensify their actions or refuse to provide anymore meaningful evidence. You could even feign ignorance of the process or powerlessness to help fuel their arrogance and recklessness!
  • If you have all the needed evidence from them, if circumstances permit, approach your first contact for addressing grievances. If this and subsequent efforts show them to seem intent on domination/ignoring, then inform them they will be fighting a very costly war with you and entreaty them to reconsider their idiotic decision, or go to the outside agency immediately and let them be the bearer of bad news.

Early Stages of Conflict: Attempt to Prevent War!

Sun Tzu in his Art of War repeatedly stressed the importance and moral imperative of avoiding war whenever it was feasible, and the veracity of this doctrine I have experienced many times in many ways. While you need to be both capable of and willing to destroy them if they insist on suppression and bigotry, it generally would be better if it didn't come to that and you merely had your manager fired or whatever. There are different ways of resolving something 'in-house', depending on applicable laws and regulations. It would be preferable to start pursuing these options at a strategically very well-timed point: not too late to prevent war from breaking out, but late enough to allow you to gather needed evidence inconspicuously in case your diplomatic attempts end in failure. Keep in mind that this evidence you collected will help your efforts at this stage as well, as your manager is not going to be believed if he says you were belligerent yet is on tape saying your crossdressing is the problem. Of course, as you pursue these avenues, it is best not to fully reveal your motivations and plans for escalation unless that seems to be the last recourse before open hostilities. The list in Who and What Protects Me Federally? is more comprehensive, but these are the ones which have a high likelihood of being encountered by the average person.

  • Employment: What this entails depends on the HR's mechanisms for that company, whether it is unionized, whether it's a federal agency, whether it is an educational program that takes federal funding, etc. If it's a private company, if it has trans-inclusive policies, it may be as simple as going to HR or your boss's superior. If it's a federal agency, there is an EEO counselor to go to. If this is an educational facility taking federal funding, there must be a Title IX Coordinator there to approach. If you are in a union, they at least should provide ample reinforcement. There's also the option regardless of informing your manager she/he is breaking the law and giving them the option of backing down, perhaps with the added advisory you have the hapless fuck on tape.
  • Housing: If you are in regular, private, non-federally funded housing, HUD regulations for fund recipients would not apply. If the person in question is not merely a manager or superintendent but is the owner, there isn't any internal manner of resolving it past threatening to sue them and intimidating them with your knowledge and figurative firepower they so generously granted you. I suspect most or all landlords who take HUD funds are subject to this and this. If you are in a public program which doesn't take HUD funds, there probably is a special process there. Most likely you're in the first category, and thus war might be inevitable.
  • School/Education (general, DoE-funded): If you're a student or employee of these places which takes DoE funding, you will have a Title IX Coordinator to go to for redress. If your school/whatever is not religious, assuming this person is worth their salary, they will inform the principal or whoever that whatever it is you are complaining about regarding gender (excluding dress restrictions, if they impose the same on all students) is disallowed by Title IX. It may not get you anywhere, but that is a step mandated by Title IX.
  • School/Education (underage, religious and/or non-DoE funded): There unfortunately is no recourse unless your state or local area bans gender discrimination, and even then you may not be able to do anything if they don't adhere to it and your parents won't help. I am angry and extremely embittered about this, possibly beyond my means of adequately conveying such. We don't give a damn about child welfare in this country. We say we do, and conservatives scream that the loudest when they pass these farcical bathroom laws or other anti-LGBT measures. But, we don't as a culture give a shit about children and instead view them more as cattle, and this utterly repulses me. I was compelled to say this while we are on the topic, and I care not in the slightest who or how many take offense.
  • Public Accommodations: You might not have much luck here since you would have a limited number of options, the applicable federal law doesn't cover gender/sex even in the traditional sense, and you wouldn't likely be prepared for a fight unless you're even more defensive and misanthropic than I am. It would be advised to start recording every time you enter an unfamiliar establishment (or maybe even the entire time you are out), as it wouldn't actually hurt besides maybe a slightly higher drain on the battery (my 3,000 mAh phone battery fell 2% in an hour when recording, so it's very slight). If you do have to contest discrimination, you could of course demand to speak to the manager of the offending person, and then that one's manager if there is a higher one for that location. There would then be 'Corporate' and district managers and such.

    This is going to be extremely negatively received by very many LGBT people, but it's based on reason and reciprocity... Unless the incident was egregious (the good/service is critical, violence, etc), I suggest not pursuing it even if you have them dead to rights. Let them exclude as patrons whoever they want and not contribute to their deranged hysteria about being oppressed Christians, and merely go somewhere else where femboys are valued. Most of them do not deserve non-interference because they keep intruding in our lives, but I think mere disassociation would be preferable to dominance one way or the other. We have better things to destroy each other over than cakes, and maybe they'll eventually shut up. Right now, though, both sides are wasting energy try to utterly dominate the other on even trivial matters.

A final word on this. Regardless of who and where you must go, you ought to review your audio evidence, select the most incriminating/exonerating moments (and be sure to include some conversation preceding those moments to help give context) and then play or send it to this first contact if asked for it. You may also have to send written/typed explanations of audio evidence in addition to sift through them for evidence and contemplation. Be prepared to spend an entire day or two doing this, especially if you're having to break down in elaborate detail the course of those conversations. Of course, you would also need to ruminate, highlight, and explain textual evidence, but that won't require as much work most likely. I would at this phase focus on proving discriminatory intent and deeds primarily, as elaborate and aggressive defenses in the form of derogating your character likely will come only after they've been warned they will be facing investigation or trial. Especially if there is an absence of reports or missives pertaining to poor behavior or performance, you really just need to prove whoever is breaking discrimination laws/policies.