Saturday, February 12

The Blond Mohawk.

Some behaviours are hardwired, and some are not. Sir's new kiddies are just as quick to comment on her attractiveness with a blond muzza mohawk. Also the pointy black muzza shoes got some looks... but what of style?

The new insult of "that's so gay" must be surpassed by a new insult, when and if homophobia is ever discussed in schools in a thoughtful manner outside peer training groups and teacher leadership meetings. The news about homophobic teachers is not really news. Teachers are people, and people come with their own classist racist gender-crap ideas about who is equal and who is less equal. Truthfully? Sir finds it hard to identify as "butch", and probrably doesn't really understand what kids think when they look at her. Mostly is doesn't matter when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of teaching and developing realtionships with the kiddies. Occasionally a smart comment might waft into Sir's one hearing ear... but mostly it's little smiles and big boys that start off being obnoxious and end up having a conversation away from their snickering friends. The girls can be confused and often try to flirt, but that goes down like a lead balloon after a few dead pan looks and direct questions about poly peptide bonding or the "no mobile phone policy" in class.

It is important to be identified. The scrutiny of the teenage eye simply doesn't have an off switch.

If the identification is an outrageous steretoype, it creates safety around the ideas of sexuality for young people. True... that long legged straight acting English teacher might be a big ol' lesso or a tranny, that misogynist hairy may be a bisexual bear with cock sucking lips... who knows? But Sir is small in stature and definetely butch.

What does this mask of stereotypicity create in the classroom, corridors, yard duty, staff meetings, student/teacher/parent interaction? A mindfulness of "other" and an auto-check on language that may have been automatically homophobic. A certain carefulness descends on interactions. A thoughtful eavesdrop on a conversation that Sir may have with that 6 foot 4 boy about learning styles, that Tina Turner Vietnamese girl who wants to know how to solve simultaneous equations. A careful question, a thought out response. A meaningful interaction. Sometimes... Sir is given a large girth and ignored altogether. But pointedly and purposefully ignored.

For those of Sir's friends who are butch, these general reactions by the public to the space that is taken up by a butch body is not unfamiliar. Often hostile and always curious... intelligent people look away and then back later. Dumbasses look and then stare. It is both energy sapping and crushing at times for Sir to be the white (Sir knows... boo bloody hoo) person who stands out. But to stand out is to make a difference. To teach, speak, talk, interact and be kind makes a difference. To create safety as a visible dyke makes a difference. Just by being Sirself makes a big difference to the children she teaches, the streets she walks and the people she loves. This is the power that a stereotype and a visible gender queer identity can have.

And yes, sometimes Sir does have the odd "I just don't feel like being bucth" day.


  1. Love it! I'll give you a large girth anyday!

  2. Now Sir will never be able to change that typo :)