Really? Seriously? Honestly? It’s a Unisex Name For God Sake!

I have tried to stay away from ranting on the blog, but I need for you to entertain me today.  In the last six months, I have had two magazines and one talk show contact me about the different projects I have done for the blog.  I receive a nice email from an editor or producer who gushes over my work and says we should talk.  Of course, I stumble over myself replying to their  questions and inevitably am faced with the reality that they think I am female. 

On one occasion, a publication asked for my “dress size”, normally a clear sign that they don’t realize I also have an “X” to my “Y” chromosome. Informed that while I am not against wearing a dress, it wouldn’t be my first choice, she informed me that she thought I was a female due to my name and wouldn’t be able to use me for the story.  In another instance, when the email sender used the wrong pronoun, I corrected her in a light and breezy way. Shortly thereafter, I received an email stating that the interview would need to be canceled because the publication focus exclusively on” women’s needs” in their content. Really? Up until an hour before, you loved my work but the fact that I can’t carry a baby nullifies everything?

Most recently, a very nice woman contacted me about writing an article.  As we talked about the article and focus, she kept mentioning that “women would find my viewpoint helpful in understanding this problem.”  Finally, I had to ask her “exactly why would your readers specifically want the views of a 29 year old’s (not my real age FYI) gay man’s perspective?” At which point she admitted that thought I was a woman with a deep voice.

So let’s recap:

1) I have a girl’s name.

2) To get into a female-centric publication, I need to pull a Tootsie.

3) I have a deep voice………………..for a woman.

Needless to say I am torn.  I am angry that opportunities that I would love to pursue are being pulled out from under me because I am male.  I feel that if the roles were reversed and I was a woman talking with male publications, it wouldn’t matter. On the flip side, I get a bit of confidence boost knowing that my work is good enough to be recognized by two high-profile lifestyle publications and one television talk show.  It just proves that I have talent and with practice I can really excel at design.  I am emboldened by this and hope more is to come!

But I will say this…….I am a gay male.  I have been a gay male for pretty much my whole life. My name is Courtney. It’s French. It’s a unisex name….no really, it was a dude’s name before it was a girl’s name. I also want to say that  I was the guy who helped you picked out your prom dress.  I was the guy who took you to get highlights, told you about low lights and introduced you to non-crunchy gel.  I was the guy who selected your first date outfit for your now husband.  I was the  guy who gave up my weekends and went to flea markets to create your first apartment.  I was the guy who you called in tears when your special dinner went wrong and talked you through how to save it.  I was the first guy you called after your husband about your new job. I talked you through your first house purchase. I talked you out of flare jeans and into skinny jeans.  I am not saying you owe me or anything, but think about how much better is your life is now since I introduced you to MAC lip gloss and Spanx so a little article in your fave mag or two wouldn’t hurt.


12 thoughts on “Really? Seriously? Honestly? It’s a Unisex Name For God Sake!

  1. Ah, Courtney. They are truly missing out on a fabulous designer/ creator/ cooker/ host. That really sucks for you, and it is too bad that they don’t see past needing a female. Maybe you could clear it up at the beginning of a discussion. “Listen, I know that my name can be taken as a feminine name, and yes, I am fabulous, love shoes, understand a woman’s perspective, get the whole SPANX thing, and can make a mean girly drink…but I am a dude. A dude who can really relate and speak to women. So, I hope that you want to work with me and that gender isn’t an issue in the year 2011”.

    And, hey, if that doesn’t work, you can borrow my profile picture and you can be the man behind the chubby blond chick’s picture and no one would know! Ha.

    Oh, and I still think you are talented and fabulous. Even if you are a dude.

  2. AUGH! SO SEXIST! Hate that shit… hope some organization/company somewhere will get over their preconceived notions and embrace you as you are and celebrate your awesome work!

  3. Thanks for the kind words. I debated whether I should write this or not, but figured I had to get it off my chest in some way. I am positive that things will change and something wonderful will happen soon.

  4. It might also be helpful to point out that it’s BECAUSE you’re a gay man that women can benefit from your perspective. It’s a different f*&king perspective. That’s why it’s useful.

  5. Oh Courtney, the last paragraph almost made me cry. I think you left out – “man of honor at your wedding.” I think this really just shows how out of touch these magazines/publications are with their readership. Also, do they not realize Eddie Ross is gay? Or are they ok with it because his name is Eddie?

    Don’t let them get to you. You have an amazing blog that people read daily for inspiration. Just remember them so later YOU can turn THEM down!

  6. Unbelievable! I have to say, I’m with Michael – I keep coming back to your blog BECAUSE your perspective is different. You have a unique angle that separates you from the rest of the gazillion talented designers. (Sorry, I don’t mean that to be bad. It’s just that I’m from a small country, so it’s at times hard not to be overwhelmed by the U.S.)
    Your voice is witty and genuine. AND you cook!
    P.S. Would you really want to be connected with a publication who can’t do their basic research about people they would like to feature…?

  7. I saw that we were feature buddies today!! And saw the ‘oops’ part of it and then jumped over to see you and saw this post….pretty bizarre timing, right??! My suggestion is to put a picture of your cute mug at the top of your blog!!

  8. Hi Courtney. I just discovered your blog and I love it thus far. I’m adding it to my favorites. On the topic of this post, I think if magazines feel that they are looking for a woman’s perspective, then the advice and perspective needs to come from a woman. I understand that you are talented. But if the publication is woman-focused, then it makes sense that those featured should be a reflection of their readers – women.

    Too often, in this world, we have men telling women what they should do, why they should, and how they should. It’s extremely frustrating. Granted, you’re a designer, but the same applies (for me). I like to see women given a voice, especially on their own platforms. I really tire of opening up a magazine and seeing a man telling me what the heck to do and why. Too often, a woman’s perspective or opinions are squelched – even in woman-centered publications.

    I hope that things look up. I know there are other magazines that would like to know what men think about design and interiors, as well. Your writing is witty and fun and I know that in spite of those challenges, you will achieve great success. It is our legacy!

    Reach out to Roderick Shade – he is friendly and very forthcoming with his perspective as a man, a Black man at that, in design. You can email him directly through his site.

    I will return often to your site. Keep up the great work!

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