gender, trans, curriculum, advocacy, trans advocacy, teacher education, celebration
Tara: If there were 3 or 4 things you could say to your principal and to all the teachers in Stella’s school about creating a kind of culture that would make Stella’s school experience everything you want it to be. What are some of the things you might say? 3 or 4 things.
Jess: An open dialogue with all of your students, about all of the variances within gender would be really handy. We don’t need to talk about sexuality yet, but we can talk about what gender means.
Stella: And transgender.
Jess: Yeah, but gender kind of encompasses however you feel about yourself right? Have a seat darling. So I just think on every level we need to have more conversations like “Do you know what this is?” “Do you have things about you that are maybe more feminine or masculine?” And just kind of a discovery of each person. I think if we don’t have those conversations, we don’t see those things within ourselves, and we don’t know as much about ourselves. I think more more of that discussion of how you can see that in yourselves and how others around you. Just an open dialogue, and maybe just a little, a little more formal teaching. But just because you don’t have a transgender student in your class, doesn’t mean it’s not important for you to understand that that’s also out in the world, and that you may discover it. So I feel like there’s a lot of response, there’s a lot of “Oh, I gotta do this now that this student is here” but you know, even if there’s not a student now, you’ll find other students, or other teachers or other peers within your group. You don’t need to wait until someone new is there. You can get yourself ready and accepting for whatever happens. But less reactionary I think.
Tara: More proactive work?
Jess: Yes, and more celebration around it. It’s kind of a closeted, kind of a negative connotation to it that I would like to go away.