Comply or…

PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart

The weather’s dismal. It matches my mood exactly. Today’s World Teacher’s Day but I can’t celebrate it because I was fired. Why? I refused to use female pronouns for a transgender student.

The student, born a male began identifying as a female. He and his mother wanted him to be referred to by his preferred name and pronouns: she, her, hers, but, I couldn’t do it because of my religious beliefs. I was then given an ultimatum–“Either you use the preferred pronouns or you lose your job.”

And now, here I am out of a job I’ve had for fifteen years.

100 Words

This post is for the Friday’s Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. You can find this week’s prompt here. To read other stories or to participate, click here.

Sources: CNNTIME

36 Replies to “Comply or…”

  1. If she knew the consequences of her choice and chose to make it, she can rest easy in her principles. Some things are worth going hungry and homeless for. Each has the right to make their own choices. Even the transgender student?


  2. It’s a tough place in which to take a stand. I’m reading more and more about trans people who are now regretting the hormones, surgeries, etc. that they opted for when they were young. There have been some dreadful outcomes–as well as those who are very happy in their new gender.

    You know, we have laws about when someone should be allowed to drink, or vote. Seems to me we ought to consider the same protections over young people who are confused about who they really are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there are those who have regrets and those who don’t. Transgendered students are protected by federal and state laws which prohibit discrimination, bullying and harassment. It’s a shame, though that teachers are fired for standing up for what they believe.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good story. Hope it’s not true, though. Unemployment sucks. Glad she stuck to her values, though. Our church is leaving our denomination because of such issues. Being who I am genetically (femaile) and having spent my life up to puberty trying to be the “boy” that mom really wanted.. I can identify with both sides. To this day I still communicate better with men rather than women. I recently said such while talking with a fellow parishoner… now, She won’t even look at me, let alone speak to me. Childish and stupid if you ask me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Bear. It’s fiction but inspired by true stories. Yes, he stuck to his values. There are many churches which are divided because of these issues. Thanks for sharing your personal story and how you spent your life trying to be the “boy” your mother really wanted. I wonder how many girls are out there, trying to be what their parents want them to be? I once read a story of a girl who wanted to be a boy when she was young but she grew out of it and was thankful that her parents didn’t encourage her to have transgender surgery. A lot of women communicate better with men than with women. It’s a pity about the fellow parishioner. This is why people don’t feel encouraged to share certain things with others–even those in the church.


      1. Thanks for your words. I do often have to fill the role of the “male” in the household due to Hubby’s disabilities, so being raised with that mentality has turned into a blessing of sorts. I’m just as capable of fixing a stopped drain, carrying out the garbage while balancing our accounts and doing our taxes. When asked about something, Hubby always says “ask the wife, she’d the head of the household”… a statement which has caused us to leave many a church who don’t see women in that role.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good for you, Bear, that you can fix those things. There was a time when women weren’t in certain professions because of their gender. I’m happy that those times have changed. The church is basically going along with what’s in the Bible that the man is the head of the home just as Jesus is the Head of the church. This being said, women, like men were made in God’s image and should be treated equally although, sadly, this isn’t always the case.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It is important that we treat others as we would want to be treated. The teacher had to be true to himself and that’s why he couldn’t comply with the school’s policies regarding transgender students. He didn’t mean them any disrespect but he had to follow his conscience and defend his faith.


  4. As you’re well aware, your story is very close to a true story recently in the news. This comment is written purely on your story – I do not know the circumstances of the original, true story, and I certainly don’t know the motives of those involved.
    It can be sad when a teacher leaves the profession. It’s always difficult when somebody experiences themselves to be other than the gender assigned to them at birth.
    I am a transwoman and a Christian. From personal experience I can tell you that untreated gender dysphoria hurts. A lot. There is a high risk of suicide. There is a very high risk of depression.
    Liberal democracies like the UK and the USA have decided to use the law to recognise the possibility that a minority of individuals will need to live in a gender role other than that shown on their birth certificate. Furthermore, they have passed laws to protect those individuals from discrimination and abuse. The teacher in your story was demanding the right to behave disrespectfully and unlawfully towards the pupil.
    He claims that this is because of his faith – but is he mistaken in this? Whatever the cause of gender dysphoria, whether it’s inborn, or whether it’s mental illness, the fact remains that currently gender reassignment is the only treatment that works. It is literally a lifesaving treatment.
    Are not medical skills given by God to alleviate human suffering? Suppose a child was diagnosed with a heart problem that could be dealt with by surgery – would the teacher have opposed this on the grounds of his faith?
    I am deeply grateful to God that He has provided this treatment. Since changing my gender role in society, I have felt normal – and what a wonderful feeling it is! Best of all, I know myself to be a beloved daughter of the Most High. Truly, I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Glory be to God!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here’s the link to the story:

      My character isn’t demanding the right to behave disrespectfully and unlawfully towards the student. He was within his right to stand up for what he believed in. He had to follow his conscience. He believed that, “we ought rather to obey God than men”. And, no he wouldn’t oppose surgery for a child diagnosed with a heart problem on the grounds of his faith. However, he does have the right to stand up for what he believes when it conflicts with his faith. Would it have been fair for him to comply just to keep his job? If I were in his place, I would have done the same thing. I’m a Christian too. I read that the exact causes of gender dysphoria are not entirely understood but that several factors may play a role such as genetics, hormonal influences during prenatal development and environmental factors. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like for those who experience Gender dysphoria but I do know that God doesn’t want anyone to suffer. Personally, I don’t believe that God would create a person as one gender at birth and then, have the person later transition into the opposite gender.


  5. He can move to Texas. No problemo. Unless you have the opposite opinion/religious view of this person.

    “My religion ‘requires’ that I gender pronoun you something other than what you prefer. My religion is more important than you or your mental health.” What a crock!

    I agree with Bear, “Childish and stupid if you ask me.”

    Good story though and fun controversial topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A person’s faith is very important to them just as a person’s rights to live how they want to live. This man wasn’t saying that his religion was more important than the person’s mental health but at the end of the day, he has to live with his conscience. And if a person can’t live with their conscience, what kind of life would that person have? Thanks, Bill. It is indeed a controversial topic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What about the dignity of ALL the students? What about the other members of this “religion?” Do they agree with him?
        This is his religion, not his conscience (according to the story).
        If I pay taxes that pay his salary, is he not obligated to follow the laws and academic rules like everyone else? Why should he/she/it be given pass?
        It’s a pronoun! I realize that is confusing and can be difficult. I struggle with it, but I at least try.
        This is about religion, and in my opinion, it’s really politics using religion as a scape goat.

        I she wants me to refer to her as him. I can do that. He can be she. I don’t care and it certainly not a sin.
        I assume he/she/it managed to follow the rules for 15 years. Like I said, Texas would welcome such people (teachers) with open arms. And they need teachers here. Also, private religious schools are also likely accommodate this person.


      2. If Christian teachers are expected to abide by the rules and policies of public schools, likewise, transgender students who want to attend Christian schools have to abide by their policies. A Florida Christian school made it very clear that it will only refer to students by their sex assigned at birth, while pupils who are gay, transgender or gender nonconforming “will be asked to leave the school immediately.” This isn’t about politics but people’s religious beliefs. For a Christian it is a sin to do what they believe is wrong and contrary to God’s Word.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ALL teachers in public schools are expected to follow the same rules, or am I wrong about that too?

        Why are LBGTQ students being asked to leave a “Christian” school? Aren’t Christians supposed to love each other?

        Some “Christians” think mixed bathing (swimming), drinking wine, and gambling are sins. Others disagree. Some Christians think divorce is a sin or even forbidden. Others do not. Each denomination has their own rules and concepts of what a sin is.

        Is not the idea that we are all sinners basic to all Christian belief? Would Jesus toss the LGBTQ kids out? That asked/said, I think as long as such schools are not funded with public funds, they may dismiss as they wish. But I also call them cults.

        Anyone could use the same logic you do to justify Islamic (or any religious) terrorism. That is their religion and what they believe in & how they justify their insanity. “…it is a sin to do what they believe is wrong and contrary to God’s (or Allah’s) Word.”
        You seem to be defending religious fanaticism. Even if you believe she is a he, referring to him as her is in no way sinful within rational Christianity. It’s a pronoun. Who cares? Only religious fanatics and political whiners.

        In my opinion, it is 100% political and not the least bit godly. But then, hypocrisy abounds in such groups.


      4. Bill, I think it’s unfair of you to say that my logic justifies Islamic terrorism. Why is it okay for a Christian teacher to be fired from his job because he doesn’t comply with the rules of the school but it isn’t okay for Transgender and LBGTQ students to be prevented from staying in a Christian school if they don’t comply with the rules? That doesn’t sound fair to me. Christian love doesn’t mean that Christians should be expected to have their rights trampled by others who want their rights to be respected but at times don’t respect the rights of others as well. Jesus would not want Christian schools to do anything that is contrary to the Bible. I do not support religious fanaticism. I support people who have the right to stand up for what they believe in. What about a Christian baker who is sued or goes bankrupt because he doesn’t cater a same sex wedding? Is it fair to him? Why can’t the couple find a bakery which would gladly cater their wedding? Christians are maligned because they stand up for what they believe in. Jesus was called all sorts of things because He mingled with sinners and tax collectors. Yes, Christians don’t always agree on a lot of things and that’s why we have to look to God’s Word for answers. Regarding divorce, the religious leaders asked Jesus, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

        And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who [a]made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

        They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

        He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 19:3-9).

        Jesus also said, “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 5:31, 32). The Bible says that God hates divorce. Christians should follow only what is written in God’s Word not what they think or feel or what society dictates. Jesus showed love and grace to people like the woman caught in adultery and the cripple He healed but He also told them to stop sinning. Jesus Christ came into the world to save us sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You say this, “Why is it okay for a Christian teacher to be fired from his job because he doesn’t comply with the rules of the school..?” In most employment situations, that’s just how it works. You cannot change the fact that it is still a damn pronoun.

        Secondly, you are preaching to me. Seriously? The same book you use to justify equating students with teachers is also used to justify murder, rape, slavery, and a long list of hateful & stupid crap.

        There are gay and trans Christians. My trans friend had HER renaming ceremony at a Christian church officiated by a straight, non-trans, female minister. I attended.

        Finally, I agree with Hitch, “Religion poisons everything.”


      6. Greetings in Jesus’ name.

        Bill, it wasn’t my intention to come across as if I were preaching to you. I was just using Scripture to support my views. Yes, people use the Bible to justify murder, rape, slavery and other things. However, a child of God uses it to share the good news of salvation. Regarding homosexuality, it is an abomination in God’s eyes. It is written, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination” (Leviticus 20:13a). There are gay people who have turned back to God because He revealed to them that it is wrong.

        Regarding the school issue, God created us in His image. He didn’t create any duplicity to His identity. I believe it is wrong for schools to support policies which confuse a child’s birth identity.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Oh good grief!
        You wrote, “I was just using Scripture to support my views. Yes, people use the Bible to justify murder, rape, slavery and other things.” Yes you were.

        See? You are “using” scripture to support what you already think. It’s called cherry picking. You all do it.

        Gender identity or sex dysphoria and sexual preference are not the same thing. Heterosexual males who transition do not suddenly become women who prefer male partners.

        You quoted Leviticus. 🙂 What else does that little gem say? What did Jesus say about all this? NOTHING. Like maybe it’s not important.

        Oh yes. Gay people are good Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, and Jews. And they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer because that is who and what they are. But they feel the need to be religions. God knows why (that last part is sarcasm).

        I think your opinion and position are sad at best. For the record, why not let god speak for him/her/ or itself? 🙂

        How do you know what god thinks? How do you know god’s image? It is not schools, the AMA, the APA, or any other organization that confuses children about gender identity. It is people like you. Bible thumpers who make little or no sense whatsoever.


  6. Gosh… where to start. I think I would agree with your assertion, that the Christian teacher has a right to express their beliefs, if it wasn’t such an individualised situation. I mean, they aren’t refusing to wave a trans rights banner in assembly or bake a gay rights cake… they are refusing to treat a real-life human individual with dignity and respect. They – as an adult in authority- are putting themselves and their interests first, despite causing direct psychological harm to a child in their care. As a Christian- and a teacher- who loves Jesus here, I think this teacher is in the wrong. Sorry!


    1. I don’t believe that a teacher should be coerced to do what he believes is wrong. He is not refusing to treat the person with dignity and respect but is following his conscience, his faith. For him, if he knows that what he is about to do is wrong but does it anyway, it is sin. The last thing a teacher wants to do is to cause anyone psychological harm but there are times when he or she must do what they believe is right.

      What I find harmful to the students are teachers who promote hiding students’ gender preferences from parents. Public schools nationwide are telling students they can assume different pronouns, have access to another sex’s bathroom and change their name without letting their parents know. The student is the preferred gender at school but the biological gender at home. Isn’t this more harmful for the student?


      1. Wow… Ive not heard of that scenario before, but yes that would be harmful! It’s such a complex topic. For me, there is no issue with using a person’s chosen pronouns… and I would find respecting their wishes the most loving thing to do. But yes, the shared bathroom thing can be very problematic, especially from a female perspective. It’s about what’s best for the welfare of everyone and I do not envy schools trying to work that out!!

        Liked by 1 person

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