Sexually Harassed at Work, Fired, and Then Empowered: Two-Spirit Person Finds Voice by Speaking Up.

by Cherokee Lindsay

My name is Cherokee Lindsay, and I’m from the Bronx, New York. 

About four years ago, four or five years ago or so, I was at a place in my life where I was happy with my job. I was helping people with their finances. During that time, I connected with somebody on LinkedIn. We had only met briefly once at an event, but mostly our interactions and our conversations were through messaging on LinkedIn. 

So one day, this same guy messaged me about a position that he thought I would be good for and I also thought I would be good for. I went for it, didn’t get it. About a month or two went by again, and the same guy hit me up and it’s… said that he had a position open as his assistant. So I applied for it and about a week later I got the job.

I was very excited that I was able to experience being a part of a company that, again, was a household name and just somewhere I felt I can grow, but also gain so much experience from. About a month in, I started to receive more personal and more than friendly vibes from this person. One night, we were leaving work and he offered me a ride home and he actually took me to a restaurant instead of bringing me home. I just remember thinking, Wow, that’s very forward. But also, I don’t know how appropriate that is giving that he’s my manager. But I said, “Okay,” and went along with it. 

Things escalated pretty quickly, so much to the point that we were texting a lot, but I would do a lot of waiting to give a response kind of thing. It got to the point where one night I went to sleep, I woke up and there’s a dick pic on my phone. I just kind of remember thinking, Oh man. I was like, This is too much. I just remember thinking, Man, am I really good enough or is this just… So, those things were definitely running through my mind. 

I didn’t respond. I didn’t even acknowledge it. I left it. I went back to work. There was definitely tension, but it – almost like you couldn’t… it was just there, and he didn’t address it. I didn’t address it. One day I was called into an office. I remember going into the room not really understanding what was happening, and he just told me, effective immediately, “We’re terminating your employment.” And then I left and I remember just being so confused. I later found out he utilized coaching sessions that I had to gain guidance from him, he weaponized that to find a reason to terminate me. 

I received about $1,500 in unemployment. At that point, after the two weeks, I’ve already secured a job, a new job, so I started my new job. 

One day I received a letter. It’s a letter from the state saying that the company, along with my previous manager at this job is challenging the unemployment I received. They wanted to have the hearing, and I said, “Okay. Of course, I will be there.” I’m on the phone, it’s a court hearing and I’m on the other line, and I already knew that I was good. The judge started asking my previous manager in the situation, to go ahead and give their side of the story basically, and immediately the judge started asking questions, but in a “that doesn’t make sense” type of way.


You have to speak up about these kind of situations because if you don't and you let it just eat at you, you'll never find closure.

The judge ruled in my favor. I didn’t have to pay any of the unemployment back, and ultimately they left me alone. I just remember thinking that I wanted to put this all behind me. I really wanted to just be done with the situation. 

About three years later, I don’t know what it was, but I just remember thinking that I thought I didn’t have any proof. I didn’t have anything to say, Well, this really did happen. And that’s one of the only reasons why I also didn’t want to talk about it either, because I didn’t want people to think that I was crazy and I was just making all this up. Something told me to go through my phone messages and that doesn’t get deleted.

I’m like, “Oh my God. There’s the text messages that he was sending me. And there’s the pic!” And I was like, Oh my God, he sent this to my phone! I didn’t even know because there was just so many different things he was messaging me on. Now that I know that I wasn’t the one who did something wrong in the situation. Now I know that I can tell the story because I feel that it’s important for other people to know that these things happen. 

You have to speak up about these kind of situations because if you don’t and you let it just eat at you, you’ll never find closure. If somebody is going through the same thing that I went through, I would tell them to speak up about it sooner. Be confident in that and respect yourself to the level that you know when you are not being treated correctly, to do something about it. 


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