It was with a weird disconnected calm that I heard my wife describe the horror I had been dreading since 2010. A student came up to her and described how all of the students were talking about that I had been discovered online. They apparently found my Facebook page which led them here to this little ol blog of mine. At one point in my life this would have been awesomely devastating for the two of us, at least mentally. I am sure that it would have sent me into a frenzied attempt to remove my online presence and erase all evidence that is the horror of being transgender.
But on that day, I listened with a bemused sort of disinterest. So much has changed. So much will continue to change. Currently I am finding myself in a location that I never came close to imagining. Almost daily I question myself as to if I have determined an answer to my most recent work question - how will I present this next school year and what will I expect for people to call me, most importantly the students. My answer to that question for now is - I have no idea.
Thus it is that I find myself pondering future potentials and I view my students finding out that I am transgender as being inevitable. Of course really, when I look at my day to day appearance, if anyone doesn't already know that I am transgender then they clearly aren't looking. You really don't even need to look all that close.
Recently I attached my legal last name to my Facebook name. Once I did that, I figured it was only a matter of time before I would be discovered online. Funny enough I have yet to attach my legal last name, or my upcoming legal last name to this blog. I don't know if I will ever . I like the name of Nadine Spirit to be my nom de plume. It was created specifically to use while blogging. I used it for awhile in being out and about, but I never did feel much of an attachment to it. Now my current pending legal last name will be __________________. I don't yet think I will attach it here. I have no issue with anyone here knowing my legal name, if you know me on Facebook, then you already know my name. Yay! It's so exciting, right? Yeah, but really my legal last name is something super distinct. It's not like Brown, or Smith, a name that has a million people with it. Nope. My legal last name is pretty unique. So unique that, fun fact, apparently if you meet anyone in the US with that same last name, we are part of the same family line. Wow, another exciting tid bit right? Oh yeah!
Focus here cutie! Right, this post was supposed to be about freaking out about my students discovering my deeply hidden giant obvious secret that I have been putting on almost full display for about the past five to ten years. So yeah, I can say that I felt a disconnect from hearing the news from my wife. Almost a nonchalance about it. An eh, whatever, sort of flippant-ness.
The reality of teaching middle school however can be a brutal heartless agony. It isn't always. Sometimes it's the most amazing job on the planet and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I've been doing it for 21 years, so I think there is something about it that I love. Call me crazy, but it's true.
However, that whole brutal heartless agony thing can be a real killer. Thus it was that my wife and I braced ourselves for our possible demise as we walked into work the next day. It really wasn't me that I was worried about, it was mainly for my wife. I teach math. She teaches Language Arts. Who would you talk to while growing up, the math human or the English human? Well I will tell you that for every one student who approaches me with a potential conversation she has about a hundred of them.
In Language Arts, you talk about things like emotion and such. In math, we just don't do that. And further more when you do, it makes the students uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. Thus it really never happens. But it is almost a minute by minute occurrence for my wife. That's they way it goes it is what it is and there isn't much that can or should be done about it. As well, with being a public school teacher, you need to understand that we are contract employees. We are contracted to do a specific job, and my job is to teach math, not for me to talk about transgender issues. But another fun fact - we can answer just about any question a student asks. I can talk about transgender issues, if the student initiates the conversation.
So we braced ourselves for a potential onslaught of hysterical students clamoring with muddled rumors of the teacher they found online that is dressed in a far more feminine manner than they are used to. I tried to be supportive of my wife and offer her any assistance or thoughts that might help her, but at the start of the day we each had to go our separate ways off to our own classrooms.
Within moments of arriving into my room, as is usual I dove into my work and soon forgot about the potential looming doom approaching me. And so it was that it wasn't really until about 2nd period that I remembered. I had to giggle. Nothing had happened, nor was happening. My students were working on their various projects, seemingly oblivious to the supposed furiously flying rumors about their transgender teacher.
Our morning break came quickly that morning and I anxiously awaited news of what the day had wrought for my wife. She came into the lounge with a smile on her face and was contentedly talking with another colleague about some chit-chatty topic. When she sat down next to me I gave her that raised eyebrow look and asked her how her morning had been. She said it had been fine but did not continue or give any hint of what that particular use of the word "fine" actually meant. I pressed further and asked her if she had any interesting conversations that morning. And she replied that she hadn't but that she was still a bit concerned about what the rest of the day would bring.
I wished her my best at the end of break and returned to my room pondering to myself about just what the rest of the day would bring. It actually took until after 4th period for something to finally happen. I was in my room during the passing time between class periods. A student yelled into my room, my pending legal first name, Kelly. A student waiting in my room for class to begin told me she thought it was disrespectful as I went to the door to see if I could determine the culprit.
Nobody unusual was outside my door. Nothing was happening. Just the one saying of my name from some anonymous student. And then it struck me and I smiled, they thought they were being mean, when in reality they were actually using my name, well pending name. Sure they, as a student at the school, shouldn't be using my first name, but it is undeniable that I smile whenever anyone calls me Kelly. I took note of who I thought may have said it for future reference but that was it.
As it turns out, that was all that happened. To me or to my wife. Not one other word of it was spoken to me or her. Hmmmmm....... kind of a let down, huh? I mean, no not really. It was actually an amazing gloriously awesome sauce thing! But, to brace yourself for so long for the inevitable super drama headed towards you as a freight train towards an ant, and then for basically nothing to happen it can kind of spin one for a loop.
Jules and I spoke about it on the way home. We were both pretty pleased with how our day had actually gone and how different it was from what we feared it may have been. We did remind each other that now that this news is out, there is no telling how far it may spread. There is no knowing what may happen from day to day with young teenagers, you just have to roll with it and sometimes figure it out on the run. Literally, figuring it out while running to them or from them or just to the restroom between classes! Haha.
Surely since then things must have happened, right? Well no, they have not. It is now summer break, everybody is signed out and gone. And nope, not one other thing was said to my wife or me. I heard some rumors of conversations happening around me, but what is middle school without rumors? What's the fun in that?
Will I still be paranoid about some massive unseen meteor of doom headed my way? Well, yeah, for sure. I have yet to determine if I am going to go to work next school year dressed in a far more feminine manner or not. I have not determined if they will be told to reference as Mrs. _____ or not. Why do you think that is? Because I am so steadfastly confident? Ha! Um, no. Because I am completely freaking terrified! Terrified of what may lay waiting for me in its infinite horror. So there is that.
Um, yeah, there you have it. Shall we review here for a moment? For the past twenty one years I have been terrified of my students finding out, they found out, and basically nothing happened.
Not what I thought.
So not what I thought.
See, middle schoolers aren't all bad! They're actually just a bunch of softies. (I keep trying to tell myself!)
The photos are all taken of another art piece I did with my students this year. This was done about 6 or 7 months ago. Think I have been hiding all that much?