family, personal

Dealing with Cisgender Privilege in High School

So I’m moving my teen from a class because wow, the response to their expression that they felt unsafe in the classroom, was met with a “well you can be threatening too” sort of response.

My letter sent to academic adviser in regard to Mag leaving the class

==============================

I understand that the point of this Speech class to open dialog about issues relevant to society overall. Yet when my teen is asked to ‘define’ themselves to a CIS person, and the teacher doesn’t have the understanding to know that this is unacceptable, that’s cause for concern. Perhaps a visit here may help the instructor understand where she went wrong:

In short:

  • No one gets to demand of gay, lesbians, or transpeople (they’re not all one-culture BTW) that they explain themselves over and over to devalue a bigots preexisting bias.
  • No one gets to tell a marginalized person how to feel about being marginalized; and no one gets to nullify a marginalized persons feeling unsafe because they themselves feel safe.

These things are a given to any teacher than understands how to deal with discussions of transgendered issues in classes and groups, but this teacher has made it clear that Mag is to be accepting in the face of students that continually refuse to the proper pronouns/names. That Mag is being out of line when people make rude comments about their gender because in the spirit of discussion (CIS discussion) Mag should endure whatever thoughts may come because this is social-discourse.

Again, I understand that discussion of such things is the goal of the class—but the truth is, THERE SHOULD BE NO PLATFORM FOR THE DEFENSE OF HATEFUL LANGUAGE. There should be no discussion about why one thinks it’s okay to use the word faggot or gay to describe things—because it’s never okay. Period. No matter what that persons past experiences are that define their bigotry, there should be no light shined on it for the sake of point/counterpoint, because there’s NO COUNTERPOINT acceptable when it comes to hate speech.

This teacher failed to recognize that my teen found the discussion toxic, and that it induced enough anxiety that my teen returned to class automatically on the defensive and feeling unsafe.

Mag attempted to email the teacher about feeling threatened in discussing topics where their gender and gay identity were brought up—they asked if such topics could be avoided, or better moderated. The teacher chose to respond to Mag’s concerns about feeling unsafe in her classroom, by pointing out Mag’s combative behavior during discussion about race that transpired on another day! Mag lost their temper that day because for one, there were no minorities in this class to bring scope to a discussion about the use of the word n*gger, and other ethnic slurs. The teacher’s response to Mag indicated (from my reading of the response) that because they lost their temper in this discussion on race—that this loss of temper somehow cancelled Mag’s feelings of being unsafe in the prior discussion on hateful speech aimed at gays and lesbians.

I was disappointed in the CIS-white-privilege displayed in the response, and so when Mag wished to leave the class, I supported it. Thank you for getting back to me regarding this matter, and I want to make it as seamless as possible for Mag so that nothing interferes with Mag’s advanced-placement curriculum.

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So yeah, dealing with this shit. >_>  I never thought I’d regret moving to Texas, but man…

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