Someone wrote…

I’m too scared to ask the teachers at school to refer to me by my preferred name and pronouns, but being referred to by my dead name and pronouns really really hurts. Does anyone have any tips on trying to talk to teachers about it? That would be a great help!

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on November 20th, 2015 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 3 comments »

3 Responses to “School”

  1. River City Kitty

    I’m a late-stage grad student. I’ve been teaching for five years, and I’m pretty close to (hopefully) becoming a professor. I’m not sure what your particular situation is, but I will say that my students usually hide their troubles from me until they are serious, serious issues, and that usually doesn’t work out well.

    Your teachers are human beings, and compassionate human beings don’t want to carelessly inflict hurt upon their fellow people. Odds are that, if you haven’t come out to them, they don’t even know they’re hurting you– and, if they’re decent people, they’ll want to stop right away.

    Of course, this advice applies more for college than K-12, and more for blue states than red states, and more for cities than country. Assess the risks honestly. But if what you’re scared of is your teacher ignoring your preferred name and pronoun… they’re doing that already. What do you have to lose?


  2. Tove

    I’ve worked as a middle school, high school, and college teacher and a tutor, and my highest priority — something I consider essential to teaching well — is making sure that my students feel safe and respected in our workspace.

    Is there someone on the faculty of your school that you feel safe talking to — a particular teacher, coach, counselor, for example? Does your school have a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance), LGBTQ+ society, or something similar?

    Would you be more comfortable writing an email to your teacher(s)? I’ve seen form letters for that:


  3. Sam Cooke

    It’s easiest to do at the start of a new semester. You can email your teachers ahead of time to ask them to use your preferred name. Or in class when they call roll, you can just say, “Actually, I prefer to be called Name.” Sometimes you have to remind them, but teachers are generally understanding folks. Good luck!


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