Swipe Me: I got the shock of my life today

I went to work today, as per usual.  Unfortunately, I’m still forced to dress “male” to work because I wouldn’t be hired otherwise.  A few Transgender and Non-Binary foreigners are out at work, but not myself.  I don’t know of any Taiwanese people in the ESL field who are out, though I know of some working in other white and blue collar businesses.

I prepared for the day’s classes, then went into the third of the day, and I saw something unexpected.

I saw a child wearing a dress.

This child has always had a boy’s name, and my co-teacher tells me she has a new name.  And I’m spending the next hour distracted instead of doing my job, asking myself whether the little girl knows or has been influenced by me, whether this happened independent of me, whether I should tell her parents, find out if they already know, etc.  There is a lot to process.

This is the first time I’ve seen a child transition at a school.  Thankfully, all the other students treated her the same as before.  And since the entire staff knows I’m Trans and have seen me at social events, it wasn’t a shock to them and they treated her with respect.

But it sure as hell was a shock to me.

As a friend said to me online, “Supportive parents FTW!”


    • says

      Honestly, I’m ignorant about that. Korean names reportedly have gender, though I couldn’t tell. I know that many Japanese names have suffixes that indicate it. Mandarin names may have similar indicators by type of name. In English and other European countries, flowers are girl names.


      Some students have legal English or European names given by parents and on the kids’ legal documents. But many of them are assigned an English name when they join a cram school. The child in this case was given a new girl’s name today.

      • Pierce R. Butler says

        So the student’s name change in this case may have been “necessary” for transition purposes, or may have been just to signify a “new me”?

        No doubt those who make gender transitions in genderless-name societies have significantly different criteria to consider in that context – and either way is right!

      • anat says

        Re: Korean names: My son’s partner is the child of immigrants from Korea, and they say that while some Korean names are gender-specific, there are also many names that are not. When they came out (to most people, but not their mother) as non-binary they changed their name from a European feminine name to a Korean non-gendered name.