My getting fired by the Houston Chronicle after coming out about my colorful past turned out to be a mere prequel to the revelation that my successor on the society beat, Sarah Tressler, was a stripper with a blog. Girlfriend went on Good Morning America and may have gotten a book deal.
This week, my divorce from the wife I married for art was the prequel for Tressler’s press conference with Gloria Allred announcing she’s suing the Chron for gender discrimination. Allred cited the fact that most exotic dancers are women; therefore firing them for dancing or having danced disproportionately harms women in addition to discouraging them from trying to improve their lives.
I don’t believe that I should have been terminated because of a claim that I did not disclose on my employment application that I worked as an exotic dancer. There was no question on the form that covered my dancing. I answered the questions on the form honestly
I feel that women should not be denied other employment because they have worked as exotic dancers
Here’s where the prequel may help Tressler’s case: Despite never having disclosed on my employment application that I had worked as an escort and porn actor, the Chronicle did not cite that as a reason for firing me. (I did come out about my past to an editor by submitting a draft of this essay, but not until years after I’d been hired.)
In fact, the wording of the email implied that I had quit and the reason for termination was that the paper was unable to grant me an extended unpaid leave “due to the present climate” in which it found itself. No mention of my sex work. And I was welcome to apply for any open position upon my return.
There are differences in our individual situations, of course, but the biggest two that spring to mind are that I’m a man and that and I didn’t get fired for failing to disclose my sex work when I applied for the job. She’s not, and she did.
For the record, and with respect to Tressler’s remarks, I don’t think men who have worked as exotic dancers should be denied other employment either. But officially, at least, that’s not why the Chronicle denied me other employment.