03 October 2013

The travails of a conservative grad student teacher at a public university (in a state governed by Republicans):

It is most certainly not my job, though, to cheer along anyone, student or otherwise, in their psychological confusion. I am not in graduate school to learn how to encourage poor souls in their sexual experimentation, nor am I receiving generous stipends of taxpayer monies from the good people of the Great State of Wisconsin to play along with fantasies or accommodate public cross-dressing. To all and sundry alike I explicate, as best I can, such things as the clash between the Taira and the Minamoto, the rise of the Kamakura shogunate, and the decline of the imperial house in twelfth-century Japan. Everyone is welcome in my classroom, but, whether directly or indirectly, I will not implicate myself in my students’ fetishes [emphasis added], whatever those might be. What they do on their own time is their business; I will not be a party to it. I am exercising my right here to say, “Enough is enough.” One grows used to being thought a snarling racist–after all, others’ opinions are not my affair–but one draws the line at assisting students in their private proclivities. That is a bridge too far, and one that I, at least, will not cross.

As a white man I sympathize with other white men who have been on the implicit receiving end of ham-handed diversity / anti-racism educational initiatives.

As a gay man I have had ENOUGH of educators in public institutions who call my sexual orientation a "fetish."  You are right, Jason, that it's not your job to help your students grow into their sexual identity.  You are most assuredly wrong, though, if you think you are serving the public good by denying the existence of transgender people (that is what your letter suggests to me).  Do not, I repeat, do not expect me to shed tears if you do not attain a professorship in history at a public institution whose mission it is to prepare young people to navigate a society that is willing to let human beings be human beings, even to the extent of (gasp) choosing their own pronouns.

There are hundreds of conservative religious universities in this country that prepare young people to navigate a more rigid society, and if you really want to devote your life to that task, you should think of seeking employment at one of these institutions.