22 March 2011

Please Don't Approach Me As A "T"

Today two different people approached me to help with something called "Safe Zone" training.  And I reacted in two completely different ways.

No, I haven't suddenly gone bipolar.  At least, I don't think I have.

At my first job, I heard someone rasp, "Hey, Professor" a few feet behind me.  The voice belonged to a longtime prof who, a few years ago, swore me to secrecy when she told me what I already knew:  She is a lesbian.  Today she denied that she ever extracted that promise from me.  Well, whether or not she did, I assured her, whoever knows about her didn't learn about it from me.  She thanked me for that, and mentioned that she wanted to do the Safe Zone training.

"It's for the benefit of LGBT people," she explained.  "And we don't have a T."  

I explained--truthfully--that I couldn't do the training session because it conflicted with a class at my other job.  "Well, we hope to have another training soon after," she said.  "Hopefully, you can do that one.

I didn't respond to that.  Thankfully--for me, anyway--a student approached me to ask when I would be in my office.  Thank you, student!

At my second job, I met, for the first time, a prof with whom I'd had an "argument" on the online Community Dialogue for the college's faculty and staff.  Actually, he agreed with most of what I said, except for one point in which I compared the way the Democrats take "minority" support for granted to the way the faculty union treats adjunct instructors.  He admitted that he would like to convince me otherwise.  He also said he wanted to talk about the ignorance and hate that, he feels, are part of the faculty and staff culture.

"I've read your blog," he pronounced, "and it confirmed what I thought after reading your comments--you're a courageous person. And I'm drawn to corageous people."

After that, he mentioned the idea of Safe Zone training.  By that time, I had about two minutes before the start of my next class. "Let's talk some more about that," I said.

I'm not sure of whether I did the best or dumbest thing I've done since I started working there.  Or maybe I did neither.  All I know was that I felt less like I was being approached as a T and more as a W or F.  Or maybe as J.