Story by Eric Ownes
LGBTQ activists in Tallahassee, Florida are really mad because the taxpayer-funded local school district reassigned a fifth-grade teacher after she told the little kids in her classroom to address her with the title “Mx.” and refer to her using the third-person plural pronouns “they,” “them” and “their.”
The teacher, Chloe Bressack, pulled her transgender pronoun stunt at Tallahassee’s Canopy Oaks Elementary School earlier this school year. Bressack, who identifies as gender neutral, sent a note home to parents saying that she expected their fifth-grade children to address her as “Mx. Bressack” and to use plural pronouns when discussing her singular self. The backlash from parents was intense.
School district officials responded to the outpouring of parental complaints by hastily removing Bressack from her fifth-grade classroom and transferring her to the school district’s adult basic education program.
Now, the Tallahassee chapter of the Florida Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allies Democratic Caucus has criticized the teacher’s transfer.
The gay and transgender activist group condemned the way in which “Leon County Schools and Superintendent Rocky Hanna have handled the issue of a teacher’s request,” according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“We hope that the resolution that has been reached is appeasing to all parties, and that the teacher was not in any way pressured to accept a transfer as an alternative to punishment or termination,” the group said in a statement. “It would be a poor example for students, teachers, and staff if Leon County Schools violated their own nondiscrimination policy which enumerates protection from discrimination on the basis of ‘sex (including transgender, gender nonconforming and gender identity).’”
Hanna, the school district superintendent, said no one forced Bressack to do anything. Both Hanna and Bressack “agreed a different environment would be best” for both her career and “for the young students at Canopy Oaks,” the superintendent said in a statement.
Canopy Oaks Elementary principal Paul Lambert initially thought it was a good idea to defend Bressack’s request that little kids call her “Mx. Bressack” and talk about her using plural pronouns. “We support her preference in how she’s addressed. We certainly do,” Lambert told the Tallahassee Democrat, apparently forgetting to use gender neutral pronouns when referring to “Mx. Bressack.” (RELATED: Florida Parents Furious After Teacher Tells Fifth Graders To Use Gender Neutral Pronouns)
The Florida State University branch of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and a handful of mothers in Tallahassee has organized a letter-writing campaign in support of Bressack and Lambert.
“Mx. Bressack, a Tallahassee elementary school teacher who identifies as non-binary, faced backlash this week after sending home a letter explaining to parents that they wish to be referred to as ‘Mx Bressack’ and with gender-neutral pronouns. This backlash is extremely underserved and dehumanizing,” a Facebook post concerning the letter-writing campaign explains.
The president of the Florida State NOW chapter, Cynthia Colas, expressed support for Bressack.
“There is nothing problematic, inappropriate or outrageous about Mx. Bressack’s request for people to identify them as ‘Mx Bressack’ and with gender neutral pronouns,” Colas told FSU News, the school newspaper.
Encouragment of the use of exotic pronouns which have exactly zero chance of becoming part of the English language has become popular on many college campuses. Student groups and school officials have pushed students to swap out pronouns such as he, she, him and his for gender-neutral pronouns such as “ve,” “ver” and “vis.” There’s also the basic “they” as well as “thon,” “xe,” “faerself,” “hir” and “xyr.”