Hey Mom

Being nonbinary at SPU

Macs Herdrich, Guest Writer

Illustration by Caitlyn Schnider.

Hey Mom,

The quarter is winding down. I’m stressed about my screen-printing final, and I basically only have time to eat, sleep and study. It’s not all bad though. There are always the odd moments of goofing around with my roommates or running to the C-Store for ice cream I know will hurt my stomach.

Basically, everything is fine, but sometimes class can be hard. I know you’re still getting used to my they/them pronouns, and that you might not get it yet; neither do most of my professors. I thought taking 18 credits would be hard, and I expected that my grades wouldn’t be perfect, but not because I’m nonbinary.

It’s hard to wake up three times a week knowing that my 9 a.m. professor will probably call me “she” or refer to our class as all women. Paying attention to a lecture isn’t easy when my head is spinning off in a gender crisis. I know it’s not his fault, your generation is still learning. But it’s almost 2022. How much longer is it going to take?

I’ll be patient. I’m happy to wait. But it’s hard to believe anyone is really trying here.

My school’s president openly admitted that he doesn’t know what pronouns are at a forum about LGBTQIA+ student’s rights earlier this month. This comes after eight weeks he spent “learning” about the queer community.

I have to hide my identity from my on-campus employer for fear of being fired; and I’ve been going by two different names in my classes, work life and personal life because I don’t know who it’s safe to tell about the new one.

But I don’t want you to worry, it’s nothing I can’t handle. With the right combination of supportive friends and self-gaslighting I’ll make it through the rest of the quarter. I told my two new profs this quarter that I go by they/she, so it’s okay they’ve never once used my they/them pronouns, right? And I might have to be okay with getting my first ever C in that 9 a.m. class because I’m not comfortable participating, but hey, C’s get degrees I hear.

I could transfer, but really who’s to say things would be better at UW? We can’t afford it anyway. Maybe I should shave my head. Maybe if I change my major to art, those profs will know how to use my pronouns. Maybe my 9 a.m. professor will start using my they/them pronouns because of that email I sent. Maybe ASSP will get something to change this year. Maybe.

See you in a few weeks, I’m looking forward to the sunny weather.

Your youngest