I finally got a response from Jeremy’s teacher about the pronoun issue; two rather long voice mails were left while I was at work today. The gist of the messages were that this is a basic grammar class and they only deal with traditional pronouns, not invented ones. (Which makes me wonder if she realizes all our words are invented; no words just magically appeared one day). If she had a transgender student in her class she would use the pronouns and name of that child’s choice, by board rules. However, additional pronouns aren’t part of the curriculum and she’s not going to cover them.
“She said they weren’t real,” Jeremy informed me angrily.
“Which ‘they’ are you talking about?” I asked. “The people or the pronouns.” If it was the people, that negated about half of her message.
“The pronouns,” he replied, much to my relief. There’s only three weeks left of school. I’d like to coast through them without any major battles.
“Well, according to the message, she said they’re only teaching traditional pronouns…” I trailed off when I noticed Jeremy’s baffled expression.
“What do you mean by traditional pronouns?”
“Him and her and he and she,” I replied. “Those are the original pronouns that people used.”
He stared at me in confusion. “But what did the people without a gender use?”
“They didn’t. They just pretended to be one gender or the other.”
“But that’s not fair!” he blurted.
“You’re right. It’s not,” I agreed.
He tucked his hair behind one ear then crossed his legs, resting his hands gently on his knees. It was a very feminine gesture.
“Jeremy? What gender do you identify with?”
“Mostly male with a bit of female,” came his immediate reply. “But still male.”
“Why did you want the pronouns brought up in class?”
He tilted his head and gazed at me thoughtfully. “Mom, we’re supposed to be the future. How can we make things better if we don’t have all the information?”
He makes my heart melt.
That ends my discussion on pronouns with the school though. Even though their current use of pronouns is making Jeremy uncomfortable, I have no tools left to argue with the school board. Jeremy identifies as male and wants to use him and he. I can’t argue on his behalf; there’s nothing tangible to argue with.
Ever since Jeremy was a toddler, I’d look at him with amorphous questions. He wasn’t the stereotypical rough and tumble little boy but he wasn’t really girlish either. He just kind of straddled the middle between both. I figured puberty would bring some answers or at the very least give some definition to the questions but, no.
He turns seventeen in another week and apparently identifies as both straight and male. Those amorphous questions still hang on.
Jeremy and I were standing at a bus stop a few days ago when one of my coworkers spotted us from her car and waved us over for a rapid, before the light changes, introduction to her husband.
“This is my coworker Michelle,” she said, gesturing towards me. “And this is Jeremy. He’s her daughter.”
The light changed and they headed off, I don’t think Jeremy even heard what she said. But that sums up how people tend to see him quite nicely.
Jeremy’s just over six feet tall, with huge hands and a deep bass voice. His clothes are brightly coloured but they were bought in the men’s department. And yet people still refer to him as ma’am and her. Jeremy doesn’t care.
He feels male… mostly. And he’s happy with male clothing… mostly. I’ll watch him playing Grand Theft Auto… then come back into the living room to find him intently watching Charmed on Netflix.
“I’ve got some new pictures of my kids,” I said cheerfully to one of my coworkers.
“This is my son, Jeremy.” I swiped the screen to his picture and turned my phone. She looked from the screen to me then back again.
“Isn’t this your daughter?” she asked hesitantly.
“No,” I replied then swiped the screen again. “This is my daughter.”
“So you have two girls?” she continued.
“Umm, no. A boy and a girl.”
That conversation’s a thousand times better than having the person recoil when I show Jeremy’s picture, like he’s going to jump out of the screen and bite them. Seriously? Just no.
If anyone came here looking for answers (or actual questions for that matter), you’ve come to the wrong post. Maybe someday we’ll have some. Or maybe Jeremy will continue to travel along through life, not exactly fitting into any category.