Unfiltered Story #32573

Unfiltered | December 15, 2016

(Same beginners’ American Sign Language class as the “I’m not marrying you” incident. The teacher is Deaf, so naturally it’s an immersive course and we are encouraged to sign rather than speak as much as possible. This leads to some hilarious mistakes.

One student in the class has a traditionally feminine name, presents traditionally masculine, and has a body type that could be taken for either. I am a cisgender woman but pride myself on being an LGBTQ+ activist. Note: Knowing ASL grammar isn’t necessary to get the joke, so I’ll just be using English.)

Teacher: *demonstrating commands to the class* “All you men, stand up.”

Gender-ambiguous Student: *stands up along with the other men*

(During the break, I approach the student in question to confirm pronouns, etc.)

Me: *signs* “You identify as a man?”

Student: *signs* “Yes, I’m a man.”

Me: *gives him a thumbs up and a smile*

(After the break, the asking warm-up activity is asking each other yes-or-no questions and answering. I start worrying that someone’s going to misgender the student and thus I’m not really paying attention to what I’m signing.)

Another Student: *signs to me* “Are you a man?”

Me: *signs* “Yes, I’m a man.” *realizes mistake* “Wait. No. I’m a woman.”