Thursday, February 28, 2019

E-Verify and Being Transgender - Part 2

My day at work proceeded normally; meetings and database work. I sent an e-mail to HR asking that we meet and discuss the E-Verify notice. 

At that meeting I explained concisely why I am not going to change my Social Security (SSA) records due to retirement payments, and medicare coverage. The danger of coverage disruption outweighed my need to be employed at this time.  

Last evening I did my research and learned quite a bit about the E-Verify process. Yes some states require E-Verify; Some companies doing business with the federal government are mandated to use the system and some employers voluntarily use it. Although the requirement is real and the requirement to close every open case is mandated, there are not laws in place to mandate how the cases must be closed - At this time!

It is a tool of intimation. It provides an employer grounds to terminate an undocumented employee (new hire) with disputed identification. And that is the first option presented in resolving an open case.

There are two other options that can be used as well:

  • [Company] will continue to employ [Employee Name]
  • Neither of the option above apply.  I am closing this case for a different reason. (Other)

For now an employer can opt to continue and keep the employee. (Case Closed).  I would assume under an ICE audit you must justify this action.  

In my case, I laid all my cards on the table (so to speak) providing all needed documentation. I was already "outed" so no reason to withhold now. I mentioned to HR there are options other than termination, however, fully acknowledged they would be with their right to proceed with immediate termination. That did not happen and HR is likely going to pursue one of the other options. I will know more in a few days.        

My opinion, E-Verify at this time is an intimidation or bullying tool. Today I stood up to the bully and we shall see how this plays out. As long as one can provide the legal proof that I-9 requires, E-Verify closure should not be a problem.   

I apologize for the blog being so drama laden for the last two days. We shall return to regular programming soon. Thanks for all the e-mail support and comments.  Rhonda does have fiends.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

E-Verify and Being Transgender

Up until now, I have been pleased with my “roll your own transition”.  I have discussed this many times before and feel very comfortable as both genders. See my "About Me" page  I still have consulting contracts that require one presence (domestic/international travel) and social/work engagements as the other. Full gender transitioning (medical GRS) has never been my goal. 

Over the past 15 years, non-profits have benefited from my volunteer efforts or received substantially reduced rate/salary with me working presenting as I please. Most value my expertise and although my credentials may not be perfect, they utilize my skills accepting me a being a value to the organization and team. "Some or no question asked". There have been three long term employee engagements and numerous short term engagements. 

Wages have been paid, taxes withheld, taxes filed and never a problem. After many years of contributing (most years at the max), I currently draw Social Security and have US Medicare. The records associated with these two programs I do not want to disturb, especially under the current political climate.   

After serving most recently as a replacement/contract employee, I was offered full-time. I enthusiastically accepted less than the offer as my way to giving back to a worthwhile organization. And intended to give a portion of my salary as a donation each pay period.

Although not required my new employer utilized “E-Verify” effectively outing me. Today, use of the E-Verify system is largely voluntary at the federal and at most state/s level. E-Verify is a government on-line database under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It is not part of IRS or SSA, neither of which require Social Security/name authentication. It is part of the current administration's anti-immigration wave. For the record, I was born in the US, am a US citizen and have legal documentation to substantiate this.  

Many recognize E-Verify as intrusive. Despite of this, President Trump is proposing it be a mandate. Is this really less government?  (Trump's golf clubs do not use E-Verify.)

It is going to make life more difficult for those of us who are transgender. This is intrusive and creates a new level of difficulty. At the very minimum, I now have a flag on my identity in an E-Verify database. Today employment; tomorrow - TSA, credit checks, banking, volunteering, home /car purchases, medical care...  Where will this end?  Tattooed serial numbers?  

Secondary repercussions are a reality for those of us who are transgender. Under the current administration, I believe that although not intentional, the difficulties created are savored. Being outed, either voluntarily or unintentionally, opens one up to discrimination, ridicule and precludes one from going about their jobs as any other employee. (Whispers in the break room).

This is yet another attack our constitutional right to “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  I am fortunate - I work because it is my desire, not because I must. E-Verify is going to make life difficult for all, especially for those that must work.   

I will keep you posted on how this plays out – I do not see this working either to my benefit of the advantage of my most recent employer. Within one eight-hour day, I went from exuberant to very discouraged.  

I would much appreciate any legal minds wanting to comment. 

Update: This is a post I hoped to never publish. My employer yesterday afternoon provide me with an official e-Verify notice that I have 7 US Government working days to rectify the "Non-conformation"; otherwise be terminated as an employee. I am researching my options. Stay tuned for breaking developments. I am angry and discouraged.



Tuesday, February 26, 2019

I Love the Gown

Billy Porter - Oscar Red Carpet '19

Billy Porter knows how to "Pose." according to CNN.

The star of the FX series "Pose" shut down the red carpet with his Christian Siriano tuxedo gown.

Porter told Vogue his "goal is to be a walking piece of political art every time I show up."

"To challenge expectations. What is masculinity?" he asked. "What does that mean? Women show up every day in pants, but the minute a man wears a dress, the seas part."

The actor said he's always wanted to wear a dress.

"We wanted to play between the masculine and the feminine," Porter said. "This look was interesting because it’s not drag. I’m not a drag queen, I’m a man in a dress."


Well Said!!!!!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Social Injustice Happening to One - Happens to All

Silent Sam - UNC Campus 
On Monday night August 20, students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill toppled "Silent Sam," the statue of a Confederate soldier that has stood on the campus for over a century. 

By early Tuesday morning, Chancellor Carol L. Folt, while acknowledging that the statue "was a source of frustration for many people," had publicly rebuked the students involved, deeming their activism an act of vandalism that was both "unlawful and dangerous." President Margaret Spellings and Board of Governors chairman Harry Smith went further, saying in a statement that "mob rule and intentional destruction of property will not be tolerated." (CNN) 

Today's subject is close to my heart and one you may not like. I was born and raised in the South. To be more exact, Virginia. The south has a rich history and my beloved Virginia was at the center of much of America’s early development. The first permanent English settlement occurred in Jamestown VA, in 1607. This settlement based on commercialism thrived and grew. America’s first planned community soon followed in Williamsburg and it became an education, commerce and governmental city. Plantations grew up along the adjacent James River and landowners through hard work, became wealthy. The American entrepreneurial system was established.

With the abundance of land, it was impossible for one man or family to plant and harvest it all. Labor was needed and the plantation system was established.  

This system fostered one of America’s greatest tragedies – slavery. According to the 1850 census, there were 3.2 million African American slaves in the U.S. population. It is ironic that the United States of America, “a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” began as a slave society. 

My proud southern history teaches taught me that the ensuing Civil War of 1861-1865 was about “States' Rights”. What they failed to add to that noble cause, it was actually about “The states' right to maintain the slave economy”.

Fact, the Civil War was fought as a war to defend, maintain, and extend slavery.  Slave states needed to take drastic action before more non-slave states joined the union and slavery was outlawed by a strong central government.

General John Kelly, President Trump's former Chief of Staff, was wrong. The Civil War was not about a lack of comprise. Several compromises had already been made. One of which allowed the southern states to count black slaves as only 3/5 a person for federal representation. Let that sink in - not a whole person.   

How do you compromise on the subject of slavery?  So, a little bit of slavery is OK? A five day work week and a vacation - however, you can't leave the plantation and we reserve the right to sell you.    

Even after losing the civil war, the southern legacy was to keep a perceived underclass in economic inequality as a subservient worker.   

That is why the current debate on “Southern Heritage” is ludicrous. Much of this heritage goes back to keeping African Americans in their place. In the early 1900’s the south enacted “Jim Crow Laws” to mandate the color-line. At the same time confederate memorials were placed to solidify the myth that the Civil War was a righteous cause. 

Statutes to Civil war heroes were erected to enshrine the false pretense of the war and to remind an emerging community of African Americans, post slavery, be disenfranchised, be segregated. Turning a war criminal into a benevolent fatherly hero, dangerously blurs the question of responsibility for the civil war and its justification.    

These monuments were put up as explicit symbols of white supremacy honoring war heroes that fought to maintain an indefensible wrong; the pre-civil war statuesque. Remembering the Civil War as an antebellum “Gone With The Wind” time where slavery was a benevolent institution, is a cruel affront. The monuments were set up as an expression of a wrong intent and a memorial to a wrong cause.

Put these memorials in museums where they will be understood for what they are; symbols of a lost and wrong cause. It is time to take down these memorials to an American tragedy.

"We're standing for all people and all races. If social injustice is happening to one group of people, then it's happening to all."
Al Alston

Saturday, February 23, 2019


Jeffrey Lynne - Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

Thanks Lowell for sharing this on FaceBook. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Friend's Friday - Concours d'Elegance

Concours d'Elegance is French for "the competition of elegance". Car shows are a huge part of automotive culture, and from small towns to big cities they are held. I have written about several I attend regularly.

 Concours d'Elegance events are different. They are shows you can't just show up and sign your name on the list of contestants. Instead, owners and their cars are personally invited to attend.  As one example, enthusiasts like Jay Leno are a staple at some of the shows. The "Best of the Best" vintage and exotic cars are there.

Many places around the world, including Paris and Mumbai have their own concours events, but some of the most famous shows are held in the United States at Pebble Beach, in California  and on Amelia Island in Florida. 

Just this past weekend my Mercedes group held  our own  mini Concours d'Elegance at the Mariner Sands Country and Yacht Club, Stuart FL.  We all met with our washed, polished and pristine Mercedes, shared stories and have a wonderful group lunch. We voted on each other's cars and ribbons were awarded to the "Best of the Best" in three car/age groups. 

OK, not Pebble Beach but our own beautiful sunny, February, Florida version. For me the highlight was a 1957 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadster two-seat coupé (W198). The 300SL was the first iteration of the SL-Class grand tourer and fastest production car of its day. Introduced in 1954 as a two-seat coupé with distinctive gull-wing doors, it was first offered in 1957 as an open roadster. There were only 554 produced in 1957 and today the remaining ones are all valued at millions.  What a treat to see this car.   

The 300SL was parked one car away from my humble ride and I so enjoyed looking and talking with the couple that owned it. Jay Leno eat you heart out.  Photos below.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Pushing The Envelope - Volunteering/Working

I have been volunteering/working as Rhonda for over 15 years. The thrill of planning a day out and helping in a non-profit is exhilarating. I would love to tell you I am an expert in this area; I am not. I have had numerous volunteering opportunities and have worked part-time/full-time so do have observations. "Your mileage will vary."

The big takeaway is that (no shocker here), reality seldom lives up to fantasy.  Work is work no matter how you are dressed. However, I must admit that there is an excitement that does add extra fulfillment to being “out” and contributing to a worthwhile cause of your choice.   

I cannot encourage volunteering enough. Many organizations desperately need your help and volunteering can lead to other opportunities. Volunteer today – Employee tomorrow. All but one of my “Rhonda” employment opportunities happen through volunteering.  

This week at work I had a 1250 piece invitation/mailing to get out. There were three item to put in the envelope, attach a label and then stamp/seal the envelope. My wonderful 6 volunteers did the whole project in about 8 hours. I worked with them, when I could, and was so grateful for their help. We had fun working together.   

Here are some random observations/thoughts:

Getting ready in the morning takes planning. If it takes you two hours to get you makeup done, work on getting it done it 30 minutes. This is going to be part of your every day, getting out-of-the-door routine. I give myself 30 minutes to get bathroom duties, outfit selection, hair, and make-up done. Two hours on the makeup, will not cut it. You are not going to the prom; you are going to work. 

Always dress professionally for the initial visit/interview and observe closely how the women dress. With that in mind, do not over/under-dress for work. Club-wear is for the club. Slut wear is for never. I see dresses and skirts, but the majority of women wear pants and low heels / flats to the office. This is a reality. Not too much jewelry, and no perfumeBlending in is your goal. Always err on the side of looking conservative.

Your role as a volunteer may involve filing papers, taking tickets, or stuffing envelopes. Low heels and comfortable shoes will be your savior. If your heels are high, consider taking a tote bag or large purse with flats. If you stand all day in front of a file cabinet, your feet will thank you.

Listen carefully to your instructions, ask questions, go to work. You will likely be unsupervised and left to do the task; sometimes you will be alone or as a group. Be sure to ask where the restrooms, and additional supplies are located.      

Unless you are coming in as a consultant on a specific project, you are no longer a “Subject Matter Expert” (SME). No one cares how you did it before or that you can make this volunteer job more efficient. You are there for a purpose; show your willingness to work, not manage. This is one of the hardest parts, for those of us who have “advanced skills and opinions”.

Take pride in what you are doing, no matter how menial.  Smile and be a good worker. You will be invited back.  

All dressed up... You know the rest.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Men Wearing Skirts?

Quora is great source for esoteric information.  Individual submit a question/subject and others comment.  Some of the questions are very deep, as in what do certain religions teach or others, just silly. Many of the answers are scholarly, but most run to just being opinions. There are times when you find a nugget.  

I came across this question that relates:

Can guys wear skirts instead of shorts?

There were some long answers but I love this short one by Timothy James:

In Western society, ABSOLUTELY YES! Unless you have objections from your spouse to overcome, the only obstacle stopping you from wearing a skirt is yourself... The biggest differences you'll notice from shorts is that they are cooler, greater freedom of movement, no chafing between your legs, and no crotch seams crushing your genitals. I warn you that once you try on a skirt, you will find it addicting and YOU WILL BE SWEPT WITH A GREAT FEELING OF LIBERATION!  I’m hoping that more employers like those that manage Hannover’s public transportation (Germany) will allow men to wear skirts to work. (Hannover: Busfahrer tragen) If you go for it, you'll enjoy it! Best wishes.

Have you tried it?  What reaction did you get?  I am not talking going out "En femme", but just casually wearing a skirt.   

Here is a treasure trove of photos - Men  wearing skirts.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019


When you dream you only dream your Annabel.
All the secrets there inside you Annabel.
Bound beneath an emerald sky sing Annabel.
Nothing that they did will stop you Annabel.
Land of the lines, tangled there in porcelain.
Under the stars you'll begin.
When you dream you only dream your Annabel.
Sleep reminds you takes you there, oh Annabel.
Gentle whisper, endless winters, Annabel.
Why've they could have let you be both Annabel.
Land of the lines, of the years below still lies.
You are the truth they denied.
Run like the sea, tangled there in porcelain.
Under the stars you begin.
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh ah
(Only a boy under that)
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh ah
(Only a boy da da da)


Monday, February 18, 2019

President's Day

George Washington U.S. President, General (1732–1799)

According to the Site Biography


Still hoping to retire to his beloved Mount Vernon, Washington was once again called upon to serve this country [after the revolutionary War]. During the presidential election of 1789, he received a vote from every elector to the Electoral College, the only president in American history to be elected by unanimous approval. He took the oath of office at Federal Hall in New York City, the capital of the United States at the time.

As the first president, Washington was astutely aware that his presidency would set a precedent for all that would follow. He carefully attended to the responsibilities and duties of his office, remaining vigilant to not emulate any European royal court. To that end, he preferred the title "Mr. President," instead of more imposing names that were suggested. At first he declined the $25,000 salary Congress offered the office of the presidency, for he was already wealthy and wanted to protect his image as a selfless public servant. However, Congress persuaded him to accept the compensation to avoid giving the impression that only wealthy men could serve as president.

George Washington proved to be an able administrator. He surrounded himself with some of the most capable people in the country, appointing Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury and Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State. He delegated authority wisely and consulted regularly with his cabinet listening to their advice before making a decision. Washington established broad-ranging presidential authority, but always with the highest integrity, exercising power with restraint and honesty. In doing so, he set a standard rarely met by his successors, but one that established an ideal by which all are judged.


During his first term, Washington adopted a series of measures proposed by Treasury Secretary Hamilton to reduce the nation's debt and place its finances on sound footing. His administration established several peace treaties with Native American tribes and approved a bill establishing the nation's capital in a permanent district along the Potomac River. 

Political Party

As Treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton pushed for a strong national government and an economy built in industry. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson desired to keep government small and center power more at the local level, where citizens' freedom could be better protected. He envisioned an economy based on farming. Those who followed Hamilton's vision took the name Federalists and people who opposed those ideas and tended to lean toward Jefferson’s view began calling themselves Democratic-Republicans. Washington despised political partisanship, believing that ideological differences should never become institutionalized. He strongly felt that political leaders should be free to debate important issues without being bound by party loyalty.


Washington could have been a king. Instead, he chose to be a citizen. He set many precedents for the national government and the presidency: The two-term limit in office, only broken once by Franklin D. Roosevelt, was later ensconced in the Constitution's 22nd Amendment. He crystallized the power of the presidency as a part of the government’s three branches, able to exercise authority when necessary, but also accept the balance of power inherent in the system.

He was not only considered a military and revolutionary hero, but a man of great personal integrity, with a deep sense of duty, honor and patriotism. For over 200 years, Washington has been acclaimed as indispensable to the success of the Revolution and the birth of the nation. But his most important legacy may be that he insisted he was dispensable, asserting that the cause of liberty was larger than any single individual.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019

Palm Beach Super Car Week - A Gallery Show

Art Show in Delray Beach

This time of year Palm Beach has events going to entertain. The many that travel south to escape the cold and snow need something to do. What started a few years back as a Ferrari rally at the Breakers Hotel has morphed into "The Palm Beach SuperCar Week - Art & Technology of Speed and Design".  Here are the details from their site:

SuperCar Week is 9 days of auto enthusiast events held throughout Palm Beach County each January that culminates on the West Palm Beach Waterfront, the second Sunday of the month. Last year over 100,000 general public and 1000 VIPs attended SuperCar Week events and this year, with the additional marketing support of the city, county, the sponsors and the regional media, we are expecting over 125,000 to attend. SuperCar Week includes the SuperCar HorsePower exhibition, opening day of the International Polo Club season in Wellington, track events at Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, an art show in Delray Beach and events in Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Palm Beach Island and West Palm Beach.
The downtown car show Sunday showcases many of the "SuperCars" in town for the week and is free to the public - browse and dream.  Ferrari, Lotus, Lamborghini, Porsche, Jaguar, Maserati, McLaren and Bugatti. It is not only during the show but all week long you see these exotics on the street. Florida in January - top down of course.   

On Thursday evening I attended the Art show at the "Heart Of Delray Gallery".  SuperCars in the parking lot, a fashion shows with music and champagne inside plus many artist representing their beautiful work. A super(Car) event.   

The Car show on Flagler Drive - West Palm Beach 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Must Have Fashion Items

What Every Gal Must Own!

I was inspired last week by the "Style Nudge" fashion blog on "My Must Have 10 Wardrobe Items".  Cherie has a great sense of style and provides great photos and fashion advice.  

I took her list and shopped my closet. I was surprised  to find that many of the above items, per her suggestion, were all close to the front of my closet, in that they had been worn recently and frequently. So here is both my generic and specific list.  

RED:  I love red and wear it when I am feeling bold and want to be seen. I even wore a red dress on a job interview and was told that after reading my resume the interviewer was not at all surprised to see me in red. I think a complement. A red sweater works with tan skirts/pants and red contrasts well with white. Don't be shy - be sure to have some red in your wardrobe.  

White Shirt/Blouse:  Goes with everything. A silk blouse for dress, a casual pull over white top for play. It can be long/short sleeve or off the shoulder. It always looks great with jeans or dress pants.         

Every Day Pants:  I have my every day jeans; wear anywhere/anytime. You can always grab them without thinking and pair with a casual top, graphic t-shirt or sweater. When dressy is needed, think black pants. You will never go wrong and they flatter every figure. 

Cherie - The Style Nudge 

Jeans Jacket:  This was one of Cherie's suggestions and I have my Loony Tunes favorite always handy. For this South Florida gal it has been used on many long-haul airline trips and for our cool January and February mornings. Talbots has a nice Jeans Jacket available this season.  

Stripe Top/T-shirt: This pairs with everything and is an absolute must. I am ashamed to admit how many variations of a stripe top I have in my closet. My favorite is an off-the-shoulder, with built in bra.

Skirts:  If you must have only one let it be black, hitting at the knee or just above the knee.  For business or a dress evening a must have/wear item. Paired with a white silk blouse, you will be ready for any event/situation.   

Leather:  I love the feel of rich leather. MY preference is a leather skirt. It explores the region between elegant and exotic. Maybe for you a leather jacket or leather skinny pants if you are tall. Wear with caution, it will attract attention - Most important - wear it!

Purses:  Have a good quality bag for every day. One you can grab and it is ready to go. Your "day purse" has everything you need for an outing; touch-up makeup, phone, wallet, hair brush, etc. Do not go cheap here - Save-up if you must. This is an everyday item that makes a statement about the lady that you are. Always have another for evening/formal wear in the form of a clutch or small bag with an elegant shoulder chain. The shoulder strap comes in handy when standing and you must handle hors d'oeuvres and the glass of wine.   

Shoes:  Basic simple black pumps or maybe ankle boots like above. Black will always look elegant and choose the highest heel you can navigate. Maybe a kitten 1" inch, or a 4" stiletto. Be sure you can walk like a lady in whatever you choose, stay with what fits with your personality and appropriate for the outing. Shoes are always a good place to add animal-print. Plus flats and sandals for casual are a must.       

Enjoy! Escape!



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Biology of Gender

How exactly does gender work? It's not just about our chromosomes, says biologist Karissa Sanbonmatsu. In a visionary talk, she shares new discoveries from epigenetics, the emerging study of how DNA activity can permanently change based on social factors like trauma or diet. Learn how life experiences shape the way genes are expressed -- and what that means for our understanding of gender.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Dress Shopping and Gender Bending

I went to try on dresses. Me — in all my genderqueer/butch/transmasculine glory — in a traditional bridal salon, trying on wedding gowns. And it was fabulous. I got to have fun with my fiancé and my best friend. I got to look beautiful and revel in my feminine side. Got treated like I was special, and got compliments from random strangers.

Photos by Angela Cappetta.
I fell in love. I found "The Dress." It was a simple form fitting satin sheath dress with a strapless sweetheart neckline, a keyhole back, and a lace overlay that extended into a chapel length train. It showed off my ass and my hips amazingly, it was light and comfortable, the train felt special, and I looked gorgeous. I felt sexy, and paradoxically I felt really butch. The incongruity of my short spiky hair, muscular arms, and boyish posture with a feminine gown was really cool.

But I didn't buy The Dress. I'm not going to wear The Dress or any other dress. That's not the point.

Finding The Dress, and loving how I looked and felt in it, actually put me more at peace with my decision to wear pants. Falling in love with a dress helped me examine what sort of self-presentation is important to me for my wedding day. It helped me assess what feminine aspects of the dress I liked most, and figure out how to incorporate them into my attire.

So here's the current plan: I'm sticking with my original idea of a white waistcoat style vest, and men's dress slacks. But I'm going to splurge and have both vest and pants custom made for me so they fit right and show off my curves.

I also decided I'm not going to wear a men's button up shirt and tie under the vest; instead I'm going to wear tank top with a bit of lace showing on my chest. I think the lace under the vest and bare arms will look much more androgynous than a shirt and tie, and besides, I like my arms!

And since the thing I loved most about The Dress was the lace overlay with a long train, I'm going to incorporate that into my look by wearing a chapel-length lace veil.

The TL;DR version: I fell in love with a dress, but I definitely still want to wear men's pants and a vest. And I'm buying a chapel-length lace veil to wear with it.

See the whole photo shoot. This gender fluid wedding dress photo shoot gives zero f... about the "gender binary".

Friday, February 8, 2019

Mercedes Group - Last Spring

I belong to a Mercedes Car Club and have written about it several times. This is a photo from last spring. We have another event coming up next Saturday and  I promise to be better about getting photos up posted.  

I am committed to being be out and visible. Like all of us, there are times I ask, "What am I doing?"  Then I finish with the hair/makeup and go. After each event I am delighted I made the effort and the glow of a successful escape lingers. 

What "Escape" do you have planned this weekend?