Professor Hawthorne
Hm, that's a curveball I wasn't expecting.
Sat Aug 25, 2018 18:32

Tabitha had only just taken a seat at her desk when one of the students raised his hand and she raised an eyebrow in his direction, curious. She nodded to him, indicating that he could speak. She had not expected - perhaps rather stupidly, given all the rainbow badges and bracelets that decorated his uniform - for him to ask about sexual orientation. It was obvious that he needed no further education on the subject and, for a moment, she frowned and wondered if he was deliberately being disruptive. She searched his face, trying to find any trace of mischievousness or a hint of a smirk. Upon finding none, she had an internal dilemma with herself.

She had deliberately kept her explanation almost vague as such things were generally touchy and Tabitha wanted to avoid getting in trouble with Selina for saying too much or being too blunt. However, she was also of the opinion that if a student asked a question, it was her duty as an educator to answer it, regardless of the subject. If it got back to Selina, she'd just have to ask forgiveness instead of asking for permission. She just had to work out how to carefully handle the sensitive subject.

"Very well," she finally answered, standing up from her chair and moving over to the chalkboard. She rubbed off all her previous notes before she wrote in her neat cursive, 'sexual orientation'. She underlined the phrase and drew an arrow and started to write as she talked. "For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, this is the definition in a nutshell: it is about who you're attracted to romantically, emotionally and physically. There are words for different sexual orientations and they are as follows..."

She carried on speaking while on the board, she wrote:

Straight/heterosexual - when you are attracted to someone of the opposite gender to you.

Gay - when you are attracted to someone of the same gender as you, also known as being a homosexual. Gay women can also be referred to as lesbians.

Bisexual - when you are attracted to both genders.

Asexual - when you are not attracted to anyone, regardless of gender.

Demisexual - when you are not sexually attracted to anybody, regardless of the gender, unless you have a deep emotional connection with them.

Androsexuality - when you are attracted to males/masculinity. This can be used to describe both heterosexual and homosexual individuals.

Gynesexuality - when you are attracted to females/femininity. As above, can be used to describe both heterosexual and homosexual individuals.

Pansexual - when you are attracted to all individuals, regardless of gender or biological sex.

Tabitha stepped away from the board, revealing the names and definitions in full. A knot of nervousness was twisting within her stomach as she tried to gauge the reaction of the class. It was definitely too late to take it back and she just hoped that she didn't get in too much trouble for it. It was also at this point that Tabitha decided that given she'd already put her feet into the water, she might as well just jump in.

"Sexual orientation is different to gender identity. Gender identity is about who you are/what you feel like as a person. When you are born, you are given a gender based on a variety of factors such as the chromosomes in your genes, the hormones in your body and your," she paused here, trying to find a way to phrase this without sending the class into an uproar, "body parts and there are only two - male and female. This is your assigned sex or 'biological sex' and it goes on your birth certificate. But gender is a lot more complicated than that. With your gender, comes a social and legal status and a set of expectations from society about behaviours, characteristics and even your thoughts. Every culture in the world has expectations based on gender."

She paused here, surveying the classroom and just giving them a moment to let all the information sink in. It was a hard topic to tackle and could be very confusing and Tabitha hoped that she wasn't over-complicating things for those, if Kir was to be believed, who didn't understand such things.

"So, what happens when you can't assign a gender? By this I mean, when your anatomy doesn't fit the standard definitions of being male or female. In this instance, an individual can be described as intersex - you are neither, literally 'in between the sexes'. I feel the need to stress that this is a naturally occurring variation and is not considered to be a medical problem. A long time ago and I'm talking decades before all of you were born, it was considered to be an issue and when an individual was born as intersex, it was common for the parents and the doctors to decide on a gender and then subsequently, the child would then undergo surgery. These days, we are not nearly so intrusive and it is generally the norm for people to wait until their intersex child to grow up and, therefore, give them the power to make the decision themselves. This is a much better practice, wouldn't you agree?"

She paused again. It seemed like a good idea to do so, if only for herself. She still wasn't sure how well the class was taking all this information and felt very much like she would need a very strong cup of tea when the lesson was over. Dropping the bombshell about Cleo being a veela was one thing but she hadn't quite anticipated that her defence lesson on Veelas would turn into, basically, a sex education class. Maybe she should have suggested to Selina that she be a Sex Ed teacher instead?

"So, that is about gender. Gender identity is not assigned to you. It is about your feelings, how you feel inside as a person and how you express that through factors like your clothing, your physical appearance and your behaviour. Generally, as a rule, most people feel like a male or a female. If your gender and your gender identity are in line with each other, then you are 'cisgender'. However, there are those who feel like neither of those. In which case, they can choose labels like 'genderqueer', 'gender variant' or 'gender fluid'. Then, there are those who feel that their gender is different to their gender identity. For example, an individual was born male but feels more like a female. These people are transgender or trans but I must stress than not all transgender people share the exact same identity."

Tabitha leaned a hip against her desk, feeling more relaxed as she was nearing the end of her explanation which had turned out to be far longer than expected. She was now firm in the belief that she had done the right thing, answering Kir's question. It was a subject that people did need to know about and understand and she hoped that her time spent explaining all these things to her Intermediate class was helpful and that they left her room as people who were more knowledgeable and understanding and wholesome individuals.

"There is nothing wrong with being straight, gay, lesbian, asexual, et cetera and the same goes for gender identity. What is most important, in all walks of life, is that you feel comfortable in yourself as a person." She paused and turned her eyes to rest on Kir, who had essentially started this whole thing in the first place. "I hope this answers your question, Mr McLeod."

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    • Hm, that's a curveball I wasn't expecting. — Professor Hawthorne, Sat Aug 25 18:32
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