A non-binary student’s sharp response to their professor’s refusal to use their correct pronouns is now going viral.
Shade is non-binary and identifies themselves as the pronouns ‘they/them’. They reportedly emailed a professor at the College of Southern Idaho prior to the beginning of the spring semester to let her know of their correct name and correct pronouns.
While the professor agreed to refer to their student as ‘Shade’ instead of the legal name that’s is indicated on college forms, she apparently refused to use they/them pronouns because of her convictions.
Despite being disappointed with their the professor’s response, Shade claps back with an informative email explaining how what they were asking for is not a favor, but a form of respect.
In a TikTok video that went viral, they wrote:
“I’m sorry, I think there was a misunderstanding here. You seem to think I’m making some kind of request? I was just informing you of my correct name and pronouns so you know how to refer to me.”
“Intentionally misgendering a student is actively creating a hostile environment and discriminating on the basis of gender identity. That goes against the school’s nondiscrimination statement. I know you wouldn’t want to do that.”
“I’m sure you understand that I expect to be treated with at least basic levels of respect and human decency in the classroom. I look forward to meeting you in class next week and working with you through the semester. Regards, Shade (they/them)”.
Shade’s video reading out the email has been viewed over 1.8 million times since it was posted.
“It’s been crazy. My phone has calmed down a bit now, but the first few days, it was nonstop notifications,” Shade told KPVI-DT.
“At one point, somebody commented saying that they had watched a bunch of my videos and that they had been helpful because they’re about to adopt a trans daughter,” they added. “I almost cried. That is so sweet.”
But Shade’s professor seems adamant about sticking to her “convictions.”
Since the semester began on January 11, the professor used Shade’s name but not the pronouns.
Because it’s clear that they wouldn’t get anywhere with the professor, Shade reached out to Dean of Students Jason Ostrowski, who they said has been very helpful.
Ostrowski reportedly informed Shade that the college recently formed a diversity and inclusion committee that will work on these cases.
“All students and employees at the College of Southern Idaho are able to report concerns at any time through an online link located on the college’s main website,” the college’s statement reads.
“The link leads to a form which can be filled out after which the concern is routed to the appropriate point of contact on campus,” it reads. “Student concerns are typically routed to the Dean of Students who works to address the concern”.
“In cases where concerns are expressed about a faculty member, other instructional personnel are often involved, as is the Director of Human Resources when appropriate.”
Shade revealed that unlike the professor who refused to refer to them by their correct pronouns, most professors and faculty members at CSI have been supportive and opened-minded.
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