FTG / EXPRESSION / Teacher_Butches
Teacher_Butches | 28 Jan 2010

I taught in an independent JC and am now at a government tertiary institution. I identify as a butch. I have short hair and wear shirts and pants or jeans to work. In a formal office wear, I wear men's pants and masculine/gay shirts.

I taught in an independent JC and am now at a government tertiary institution. I identify as a butch. I have short hair and wear shirts and pants or jeans to work. In a formal office wear, I wear men's pants and masculine/gay shirts. I wore the same thing to my interviews. I am out to some colleagues and I am counting them down. That means, I rely on my comfort level and tell more and more of them as time goes by.

I have many male gay colleagues. When they started work, they were worried if they would get teased by or gossiped about because they are the feminine, campy and diva sort - the sort society loves to bitch about. They all have encouraging and wonderful tales to tell though. One declares, 'I am beautiful' to his class. The story all end up being the same. They realise once the students come to know you as a human being and that you care for them, they stop objectifying you. You can be gay or lesbian, feminine or masculine, transgendered or camp, but once the students realise you care, it's just about that. I haven't found a single student who has avoided me because of how I look. When a female student had an issue, she requested that I accompany her to the counsellor: and it wasn't because she was struggling with identity issues.

One of my male gay colleagues was so worried when he started work here he went to buy "masculine" shirts. He gets students who tease him, 'Sir, can I date you?'. He takes it all in his stride and at this semester end, he's got a good report and he's happy with the students. In JC, there was a gay history teacher who powdered his face.

Sometimes I don't think it is the voices outside that we fear, but the voices inside. At the point when we, brought up as pseudo-heterosexuals decide to acknowledge that we are different from the heterosexuals, the voices start. The voices will always be there. It's either 'this doesn't feel right, I don't want to be with a guy' or 'the world sees that there is something wrong with me'. Either way, we can't sleep. What is the solution? Grow your hair long, put on make-up and wear skirts? Deny the existence of a same sex partner by using "he" instead of "she"? Aren't there gay women who have long hair, wear make-up and heels too? Is life better for them because they blend and are 'invisible'?

I think at the end of the day, it is about being a woman and a lesbian. Women have every right to dress anyway they damn well please and keep their hair anyway they want, shave bald if they want. That has got nothing to do with being a lesbian. Just because a woman has short hair doesn't mean she is gay. And it is the heterosexual patriarchal society that says, if you look that feminine way, you can't be gay and even if you are, cos you blend, you can be bent. Bullshit. Women, gay or not, own the rights to their looks. As lesbian women, we own that right as well. Don't mix sexuality up with looks. It's a patriarchal stereotype.

If the management has a problem, don't worry, they will raise it. Remember Otto Fong? I spoke to him. He outed himself on his blog and sent the link to all his colleagues in RI. The principals and teachers stood by him. The students wrote a petition to keep him because they were afraid he would be fired. Private school you say? I have another friend, a bisexual, who has one night stands who posted all her sex-ventures up on her blog. Her students saw and the school management spoke to her. They only had one request, take down the pics. She was fine with it. She was not penalised. She taught in a full-fledged government neighbourhood school. When will it stop? Fear is a hungry master. We are the only ones who can stop feeding it.

But it isn't easy. I struggled too, with wearing more "feminine" tight-fitting shirts, proper bras instead of sports bras, shoes with some heels, instead of boots. It never made a difference to anyone except me. I just felt less comfortable, with me.

We hear about being out and proud often. But I think there is a part that we left out. Being out and proud is not about being gay. Being out and proud is about being human. Because being homosexual isn't about being less human. That's why gay rights is not special rights, it is human rights. Whether we are out by choice, through some blabbermouth or in-vitro suspicion, the life and the truth we have as a homosexual human being continues. Whatever people say, we can only live our lives doing the best we can in every capacity possible.

Here's the bad news: Life doesn't become easier just cos we are out and proud. Nagging from the family doesn't stop. Gossip doesn't end. The good news: You are not alone. And even if it gets hard, you know you have been true to yourself. You need to decide if that is important enough or is silencing the gossipers more important? At the end of the day, is it easier to explain to colleagues why you don't have a boyfriend or it is easier to explain to yourself why you can't be who you are or love who you want? Who keeps you company at night? When you are lonely and no longer dares to reach out to your community cos you are afraid to be seen and gossiped about, do you care or do the gossipers care?

Written by Jules

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Posted by cjustin 
on 20/05/2010 09:11 PM's common to see gays/lesbians educators out there...i tink its also about the management in school...ahahah jules u are lucky u dun work in some girls' school...i hrd they cannot wear pants or have their hair short...mine school...they are quite fine with my dressing...even the students love me...some even tell me they are gays...basically being a educators..we are jus there to teach...the subjects of cos also values...but everyone has the right to chose their identity...even the students...
Posted by SmilingAngel 
on 25/04/2010 10:30 PM
Hey Jules, well say there..I do believe alot of lesbian having this problem as well.. and I do envy you. Respect
Posted by wondarer 
on 08/04/2010 09:06 AM
support all gay/lesbians educators out there...
Im teaching too...
Posted by epysee 
on 30/03/2010 01:48 AM
Well said! I can't agree more! I have the same fate as you except that I am in the commercial is certainly not easy!
Posted by javelim 
on 07/02/2010 11:37 PM
it is cool... haha.