Sticking it out without feeling tied down

Two hands intertwined, one wearing a wooden ring
Two hands intertwined, one wearing a wooden ring
My partner and I hold hands two years before our marriage. We handmade our engagement rings out of oak.

I am married and monogamous, even though I was polyamorous most of my adult life before we married. I am committed to my wife. It’s not just about fidelity, although that is part of it. You know, now that we are all living in a pandemic, monogamy looks a lot more like convenience. If you were lucky enough to be living with someone when the lockdown went into effect, you have a steady partnership as long as you don’t drive each other crazy. If you were single and dating and you happened to find someone, taking them into your bubble…

Why We Can’t Make Change Until We Change the System

Close up of a judge’s gavel on the block
Close up of a judge’s gavel on the block
Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

Taking Action

I was ready to do more than take a knee or carry a cardboard sign. I felt like it was time for me to move beyond protesting and get involved, somehow, in creating change. That was why I joined an ad hoc committee formed by our city council to address police policy. Think global, act local. At last, I felt hope. I felt like maybe I can make a difference that matters. And then I faced reality, and was shocked by how bad it is.

I was not naïve going into this. I fully expected that whatever good policy change…

Re-examining the what of educational content

Bare tree surrounded by flames and smoke
Bare tree surrounded by flames and smoke
Photo by Vladyslav Dukhin from Pexels

August means two things where I live. Back to school and fire season. Schools are starting up again and teachers are scrambling to deliver lessons through distance learning or in some kind of hybrid fashion. Meanwhile, we are still struggling to control three very titchy wildfires: the pandemic, climate disaster and racism. All three can flare up unpredictably and are elusive to quell. A lot of the back to school focus is on the how: weighing the pros and cons of in person versus distance learning against the threat of disease, or from the teacher’s perspective, translating in person instructional…

In defense of non binary students

Photo by Antreina Stone on Unsplash

After a bizarre 12 weeks of distance learning, I was just as eager as my graduating seniors to experience some culminating celebration. We all looked forward to ending this odd scrambled-together pandemic edition of public education. The graduates are crossing the threshold of putting an end to their high school years. I was also putting an end, for now, to ten years of teaching.

Our school decided to create a video that would launch at 6:30 p.m. on Grad Night. The roughly hour-long video somewhat mirrored our traditional ceremony with speeches and music and voice performances followed by the reading…

Re-envisioning high schools in a global pandemic

Man lying down on a bench with eyes closed.
Man lying down on a bench with eyes closed.
Photo by Cassandra Hamer on Unsplash

They are saying school will never be the same again. They are saying there’s no going back to ‘normal’ after the pandemic. God, I hope that’s true. I never liked public high school, really. Now that I’ve been teaching in them for ten years, I have a lot of reasons why I think it should change.

Fear and Blind Devotion

A little over ten years ago when I was deciding to go back to school to get a Master’s of Education and go into public teaching, I went to my local high school to interview a teacher. It was a place I drove past…

What is this pandemic doing to our queer youth?

Teen in black hoodie squatting with head in hand
Teen in black hoodie squatting with head in hand
Photo by Tammy Gann on Unsplash

In my senior year of high school, I ran a transit system for sophomores. My sister and I attended a magnet school across town. Military brats, we had just moved to a new town in the fall. This was my fourth high school. It was the magnet program’s first year, as well. Students had to be able to transport themselves. That’s how I ended up saddled with my little sister and two of her classmates each day on my commute.

Usually, they sat in the back of the little yellow Honda Civic and chatted amongst themselves and I just minded…

bell hooks and Laverne Cox in a Public Dialogue at The New School

How to build dialog between trans women and radical feminists

The schism between certain radical feminists and the trans community is one that pains me deeply. As a trans man who came of age among lesbian separatists, I have deep connections on both sides of the split. About a year ago, I made a heartfelt plea on social media to settle these disputes through open dialog. (See You Used to Call Me Sister). But even after exhaustingly long and compassionate one-on-one conversations with women I know personally, I haven’t yet found any bridges or crossings over.

I felt convinced that if the women I knew on both sides could find…

Why it is important to me to be out as an educator

The author pours oil into a pool while students prepare to capture the oil with a device they created
The author pours oil into a pool while students prepare to capture the oil with a device they created
The author conducting an oil spill challenge with students.

Ten years ago, I quit my job and went back to school to get a degree in education. I wanted to be a high school teacher, and a good one. I had been out of school and working in various career areas for 20 years. I had also been living as a man for the last ten of those years. I’m a transman with a colorful history. My wife got me a t-shirt that said “Born This Way” in big letters and in the background, it was covered with small words that listed Gay, Straight, Trans, Lesbian, Bisexual. I looked…

How I asked for accommodations as a transgender teacher

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash.

I asked my school district to pay me $200 for a phony penis. Seems like a stretch, but here’s why I did.

I’m a transman. I tell my students that my preferred pronoun is he and that I’ve been a man as long as they have been alive, but that when I was in high school, I was a girl. I don’t give them any label for myself. But by and large, people just see me as a man.

I dedicate myself to teaching. It’s not just a job to me. I see a light in each of my students…

Why Black Lives Matter is for everyone and white people need to show up

You know those TV shows where something pivotal happens in the plot and suddenly time freezes? The main character gets a chance to see things from another person’s point of view, or turn back time, or get a do over. That’s usually not the way it happens in real life, but it happened to me.

Exactly one year ago, something happened. I got called into the principal’s office. I got in trouble, just a warning. It took me by surprise. I had no idea I’d done anything wrong. Since then, I’ve had a year off to think about it. A…

Marty Wilder

Father, transman, teacher, and storyteller

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