So the first week of the semester just passed last week, and I have a bunch of stories to tell. I’ll explain them in a further post, but for this one I want to focus on what it’s like coming out to teachers, in my experience.
In high school, I didn’t say anything to any of my teachers about my gender identity, so even though it was on my mind, I never really did anything about it. During my first semester of college (during the Fall of 2014), I didn’t say much either. I was just getting into the swing of things, and trying to make friends and stuff, so didn’t really go much into detail about that. During my second semester (earlier in this year, Winter 2015), I did tell some of my teachers.
As the semester progressed, I hadn’t really said anything until it got to the point that comments were being made in class on behalf of the teacher, which made me feel uncomfortable. I never once blamed them and still don’t, because they couldn’t have known better since I hadn’t previously told them. For example, in one class the teacher picked someone in the class to do a demonstration and was like “I need a girl for this, um, how about you” and would choose me. It would have to do with something to do with being female, so it was just really awkward for me. After this happened a couple times and I was constantly being referred to with female pronouns, I decided to tell some of my teachers.
When I told them, they were all very understanding and made a conscious effort the rest of the semester to try and use neutral pronouns and to not really associate me with ‘female things.’ I was really relieved with how they took it and how accommodating they were. I figured this time around, it would be best to tell my teachers from the start, that way I wouldn’t have to go through an awkward experience in order to then have to tell them, this was it could prevent it.
I sent most of my teachers emails today, concerning a few things but also including my gender identity and the pronouns I prefer to be called. One of my teachers was really nice about it and applauded me for being so open, and coincidentally our next class discussion revolves around queer theorists who believed gender binaries are myths, which I thought was pretty cool!
I haven’t emailed my French teacher yet, because I’m still trying to figure out how to really ask for much accommodations in that class. For those who don’t know, in French there is a lot that revolves around feminine and masculine within the grammar. Even objects are placed in a category, of either being feminine or masculine, in which different pronouns are used. When referring to people or occupations, whether it’s a female or masculine person it’s spelled differently, and if writing from the first person and being feminine there are different rules that apply. It’s pretty complicated, so it’s hard to figure out how I want to state it, but I’m thinking of just asking if it’s okay when I write to not think of myself as female, so I wouldn’t have to write in the way that might be ‘expected’ of me.
The only other response I got from any of my teachers has left me in a bit of a tricky situation. The teacher replied and didn’t really understand and wants me to go see her during her office hours to discuss it. The main reason why I emailed it to my teachers was because it’s hard and weird for me to discuss it in person with my teachers, and now that’s what I am pretty much forced to do. I know I can just never show up and just not go, but that’s not the type of person I am and I’m going to go and try to explain in a way that she’ll understand. It’s just awkward for me to go talk to my teachers for a ‘deep conversation’ of sorts and outside of class hours. I’m pretty nervous and don’t really know what to say in all honesty.
There’s a gender advocacy center at my school, and I want to go to ask them what they think I should say that would help and all, but I’m even too nervous to go there and ask. It’s not that I’m ashamed or anything, not at all, and I often have to tell people and explain to them, but I find it different to explain to a friend, than it is to explain to a teacher, since there’s a different relation. I have to go see the teacher in the next couple of days, so I’m pretty nervous! If anyone has any advice, I’m open to hearing anything you have to say, thanks for reading and keep on being you!