Transitioning To A More Accepting Viewpoint

, , , , , , , | Learning | June 20, 2021

I’m a science teacher at a small high school. For a few years, I’ve also been handing out Vetinari points, or vet points, for students that answer difficult questions, ask truly insightful questions, or otherwise do something to impress me. The students can then trade the points in for a few potential benefits, most noticeably a small increase in a future test score.

A little while ago, the parent who gave birth to one of our students came out as trans and started his transition. It seems this detail has only recently filtered down to some of the less enlightened students in our school, though. I’ve recently warned one bully in particular about his transphobic comments and harassment.

On this particular day, I’m alone in my room during a break period grading papers while the student in question is at his locker right outside of my room. I’m not listening to his conversation at first, until I overhear a non-school-appropriate synonym for penis that I won’t be repeating here, coming from the hallway. Since I came in partway into the conversation, I am only able to deduce part of the conversation between the bully and the student, though it is clear from tone and attitude alone that the bully is intentionally harassing my student.

Bully: “…mom has a [penis] now.”

Student: “You clearly don’t understand anything about being trans.”

Bully: “What’s there to know?!”

I have already gotten up and am headed out to handle the situation, but by the time I get out there, the student has already started responding with such confidence that I choose to let him finish before intervening. He is literally counting off points on his finger as he speaks.

Student: “First, I don’t have a mom. Second, of my two fathers, only one has, or will ever have, a [penis]. Three, I think you’re just jealous I can kill Macbeth and you can’t.”

Bully: “Huh?”

They are covering “Macbeth” in English around this time. In the play, it’s prophesied that “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.”

Me: “[Student], you just earned yourself one vet point for coming up with a much better subversion of that prophecy than the actual play managed, though you should both use less vulgar terminology next time you wish to discuss a penis.”

Student: “Oh, umm… yes, sir. Thank you.”

Me: “[Bully], I’ve already warned you twice about transphobic comments. Now you will be spending your lunch discussing it with the principal, instead.”

All of us teachers were a little worried for this student originally when his father transitioned, but he proved us all wrong. He handled every question about his father with just as much confidence and conviction, without once losing his cool or lashing out in anger, as he did this time. More than once, I saw him inform ignorant students about what it meant to be trans with such confidence that he managed to convince even some of those who were originally skeptical of the concept to support his father’s transition. It was quite refreshing seeing not only how strongly he stood by his father’s transition but how well (most) of the student body ended up taking and supporting the transition after he explained things to them.

This story is part of our Best Of June 2021 roundup!

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We’re Guessing She Doesn’t Go To Public School

, , , , , | Learning | June 19, 2021

I am an assistant for a Sunday school working with three- to five-year-old children. Class hasn’t yet started today, so I’m trying to entertain some of the early arrivals in the meantime.

Me: “What are you going to dress up as for Halloween?”

A few kids shout out their costume choices. However, one little girl who doesn’t usually frequent our church speaks up afterward. She speaks in a completely serious voice.

Girl: “We don’t do Halloween because it makes baby Jesus cry.”

I swear that was the first, and only, time I’d ever heard someone use the whole “makes baby Jesus cry” phrase with complete seriousness. I had trouble just keeping a straight face and pretending that was a normal comment.

I didn’t see the girl back again. I suppose our heathen church that would allow children to enjoy a secular holiday that wasn’t harming anyone in any way wasn’t up to her parent’s standards.

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Being Cheap Isn’t Always Trashy, But…

, , , , , | Working | June 10, 2021

I started working at a new contract a week ago and everyone in my office is very friendly and quick to tell a joke. I personally am VERY cheap, since I donate all my excess income to charity, and the more I can save, the more I can give to those that need it more than I. The others have already deduced I’m cheap, I am quite open about it, and we have been good-naturedly joking about it.

Me: “If it’s free, I’ll take it. Everyone knows free food magically tastes better!”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, I get that. I’d take almost anything that is free, too, unless it’s someone’s free trash or something. They can keep that.”

Me: “I don’t know, I’m so addicted to free stuff that I might even take that just on principle.”

Later that day, some of my coworkers go to try out a new food truck. They like their main meal, but all of them complain that the French fries are too soggy.

Me: “Well, if your fries are that terrible, I’ll make the sacrifice and eat them for you so you don’t have to.”

Coworker #2: “Oh, you should have said something sooner. I just threw the last of mine out. They’re still in the trash if you want them.”

Me: “That’s okay. I think even I have my limits.”

Coworker #2: “No, really. I wrapped them up in the wrapper before throwing them away, and the trash can is empty. They’re no dirtier than if I’d left them sitting on my desk.”

I check and, sure enough, they are completely wrapped up tight, sitting in the bottom of a clean and newly-bagged trash can.

Me: “Okay, sure. Why not?” *Turning to [Coworker #1]* “I guess that answers our earlier debate. Yes, I will even accept someone’s free trash.”

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There’s A Tahini-Weeny Problem With That

, , , , , , | Right | June 8, 2021

Our summer frozen dessert stand has a tropical theme. There is a signpost with arrows and distances pointing to various distant beaches and other vacation destinations. One says, “Tahiti — 6,089 miles.”

Teenager #1: “Tahiti. What’s that?”

Teenager #2: “I think it’s some kind of sauce made from sesame seeds.”

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He’s Having A Bear Of A Time With His Bigotry

, , , , , , | Working | June 3, 2021

I have a coworker who regularly comes to visit our cubicle to hang out and banter for a little while. He is prone to resorting to exaggeration or hyperbole to get a response out of people rather or not he really means it. One day he brings up trans individuals.

Coworker: “If they can decide to be what they want, so should I. From now on, I’ve decided I’m going to self-identify as a bear.”

Me: “You want people to call you a bear?”

Coworker: “Yes, I identify as a bear. You have to respect that!”

Me: “You do know what most people think it means when a man calls himself a bear, right?”

Coworker: “That you need to call me that because that’s what I identify as!”

Me: “Yeah, calling yourself a bear usually means you’re a big gay man who is extra proud about it.”

Coworker: “There is no way that’s true!”

Some quick Googling brings up an article on “Bear (gay culture)” backing up my claims. He ended up wandering off then, but near the end of the day, he wanders back to my cubicle.

Coworker: “I looked it up and you were right about bears, so now I’ve decided to identify as a grizzly bear, specifically.”

Me: “I admit that I haven’t heard of that in gay slang before, but just to be sure…”

I do some quick Googling.

Me: “Okay, looks like now you are a big gay man who is extra hairy.”

Coworker: “Really?!”

Me: “See for yourself.”

Coworker: “Fine, then I’ll identify as a panda bear.”

One quick search later…

Me: “Okay, now you identify as a big gay man who has extra hair and is of Asian descent. You know, I’m really glad you finally are comfortable enough to come out to us all like that. I’m sure everyone will be very supportive of you!”

Coworker: “You have to be making this up.”

Me: “Says it right here. You know, I think your effort to mock the LGBT community has been thwarted by your lack of understanding of the LGBT community.”

He just looked lost. Sadly, he apparently didn’t catch on to the point I was trying to make; the next day he came in to tell me he had decided to identify as an Abrams tank, instead. Yes, I did Google it, but I couldn’t find any amusing slang meanings for that one.

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