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I’m Not Signing That

Written By: Lauren Howard

Yeah. I’m not going to sign that. 

The conversation sounded more like something I have heard in severance negotiations than in elementary school classrooms, but there we were. 

I was talking to my daughter’s second-grade teacher who informed us that if we wanted her to use my daughter’s nickname rather than her full name, there was a form we had to sign. 

I knew about the form, but it still sounded like a joke to me. 

“Yeah. I’m not signing that.”

Don’t get me wrong. Her teacher understood. As far as I’m aware, most of the teachers I know in Florida are wholeheartedly opposed to it, but they have to follow the rules anyway.

“If you don’t sign it, we can’t call her what she prefers to go by.” 

I could hear her trying to toe the line while also fully understanding that there was no way I was even acknowledging the existence of that policy. 

“Fine. Because for my kids, it’s just a nickname. She doesn’t care that much. For others, it’s how the school board is getting them to disclose personal information about their identity in a home that’s not safe enough to do that. That matters.” 

Again, she understood. She’s just doing her job. Still, I’m not filling out that form. 

If my kid wants to change her name or shorten it or try a new hobby or wear pants all the time or only wear dresses or wear dresses OVER her pants or paint her nails or change the way she looks . . . she knows she can just ask. She KNOWS. I make sure she knows. I tell her all the time that I don’t care who she is or what she does as long as she is both happy and kind. She KNOWS these things. Both of my kids do. 

If they don't, I've done something wrong. That's on ME. 

If you are finding out about your kid's identity because you have to fill out a form or WORSE if your kid is willing to hide who they are so they don’t have to ask you to fill out the form, you’re the problem. Full stop. 

You’re the problem. 

That form is designed to out kids who aren’t ready to come out in unsafe homes, and I won’t be part of it. 

You don’t need my permission to call my kid whatever she wants to be called because that’s her decision, not mine. If she wants to be called Princess Consuela Bananahammock? 

PCB! Dinner is ready. 

I get a lot of things wrong as a parent, but this is one I’m confident in. If you need a form to make sure your child does not dare be themselves without telling you, you’re the problem. You’re not safe. 


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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