For those of you who don’t know me, I am a transguy preschool teacher at a private Christian preschool. Obviously, I’m a masochist. I go to work every day hiding my identity behind a smile, an androgenous haircut, and a skirt. When I come home, my disphoria is so bad I immediately change clothes no matter where I have to be or what else I should be doing. It takes a lot out of me.
But yesterday, I not only came home disphoric. I came home angry. There is a little girl one of our classes who is a bit of a tomboy. She prefers to play with the dinosaurs and cars, and she cannot stand to play with the other little girls. Yesterday morning, on the playground, I noticed that she was hiding behind a toy, refusing to play all. I thought it was strange, but as I am not the teacher for her class, I was not responsible for what she decides to do during free play. I wrote it off, until afternoon playtime. When her class came out to join mine, I noticed that she was back to her normal self, racing toy motorcycles with the boys from her class. I smiled as I watched her, remembering what I was like at her age.
Suddenly, I was ripped from my happy memories by the shrill voice of her teacher, calling her over. “Stop playing with those boys!” Her teacher said, “You will get hurt. Go play princesses with the girls.”
“But i don’t like girls.”
“Why not? You’re a girl. I’m a girl. Ms. Delia Jade is a girl.” I stormed off, furious. I wanted to correct her, I wanted to tell her how horrible of a person she was for telling this little girl that what she enjoyed was wrong because it didn’t fit her gender identity but I couldn’t, not if I wanted to keep my job.
I’ve worked in other Christian preschools where it was accepted for boys to play with baby dolls and girls to play with cars, but we got a lot of flak from parents. WHY?! Boys are going to grow up to be fathers, and girls are going to grow up to drive a car. They need these life lessons just as much as anything else I can teach them. Why do we try to shove children in specific boxes when each one is unique and different. They are all going to grow up to be different things. Why try to make them all act the same now? I am fed up with the current system, and I am so thankful my teachers were so supportive of me. Even when my mother refused to let me play with GI Joes, my teachers let me pretend to be the red Power Ranger, and that meant a lot to four year old me.