The Non-Outing

A funny thing happened this past week at school, I was outed as FAAB (female assigned at birth)… only it didn’t take. So here’s what happened, I gave a presentation for one of my classes. The teacher, who knows I’m FAAB, did an oral evaluation of my presentation and, therefore, ended up referring to me in the third person. She used the feminine pronoun for me probably three or four times in a row (which is completely ok, I told her it was fine to do so as I don’t have a pronoun preference). At first, I could hear that people in the class sort of snickered, silly teacher, why are using feminine pronouns for that guy. And then, after multiple times making this “error” one of my classmates actually raised their hand and commented on my presentation using a masculine pronoun, as if to help the teacher to realize the mistake she was making.

I think it is a strange phenomenon that my classmates have set me in the “male” box and now I am not escaping it, even when outed by my teacher! Of course, you could argue that I have never corrected them when I hear them using masculine pronouns in relation to me but you could argue on the other side that I didn’t correct the teacher either when she used feminine pronouns for me. I guess we will see how the situation develops because I can’t imagine that they could continue to perceive me as cis-male when all of my teachers start referring to me with feminine pronouns.

Just quickly on that subject, I gave the presentation to my teachers about LGBT students and heteronormativity in the classroom. Therefore, I outed myself to all my teachers as FAAB as well as lesbian. They were actually very receptive to what I had to say and we landed more on the topic of gender normatives and the role this also plays in relation to hetero cis-women in a cis-male dominated study. The most surprising thing to me was that the male teachers were more outspoken and supportive of what I had to say than the female teachers. One of whom actively asked the question if sexism and gender norming of cis-women was even a problem at the school. However, after discussing, I think (or hope) that she could see that it was something to be improved. The main takeaway the teachers said they had regarding heteronormativity and stereotyping was the use of language, so to be sure to use pronouns or masculine/feminine names in interchangeable places when they give examples – i.e., the secretary in the example shouldn’t always be “she” and the boss always “he”.  Well, it might be small but at least it’s a step…