Leo Soell, a fifth-grade teacher at Hall Elementary School, which is part of the Gresham-Barlow School District, came out last spring as transgender after surviving breast cancer. She is a biological woman who now self-identifies as “transmasculine” and “genderqueer.” The School District also agreed to implement more transgender-friendly policies.
Leo was about to file a formal legal complaint for harassment against the school, but instead chose to settle, The Oregonian reported, after the School District offered her $60,000.
Her complaint? Her colleagues wouldn’t call her “they,” a plural pronoun, which the English grammar teaches refers to more than one person. Since she is only one person, her colleagues have been referring to her using the singular pronoun, “he” or “she.”
The Daily Caller added:
According to The Oregonian, Leo Soell was born a woman, but now prefers to identify as “transmasculine” and “genderqueer,” meaning she does not consider herself to be male or female. After getting breast cancer in late 2014, she had her breasts amputated to create a more masculine appearance and changed her name to Leo. Once she returned from medical school in May, 2015, Soell was fully public with her gender-neutral identity.
Once she returned to work, Soell claims she fell victim to relentless harassment from her co-workers. She says employees persisted in calling her hurtful terms like “Miss Soell,” “lady,” and “she.” If a student asked Soell’s sex, she says she was ordered to reply it was a private matter not suitable for discussion at school.
According to Soell, one teacher yelled at her in the hallway that her gender choice was “offensive to God,” and other teachers allegedly conspired to use the only gender-neutral restroom forcing her to wait a half-hour or more to use it.
Among other things, the new school district policy will “require all teachers to refer to their co-workers by their preferred names and pronouns,” and “ensure transgender employees and students have their bathroom needs met.” Teachers who won’t comply with the new “pronoun command” could be fired, as a result.
This article was first published on May 25, 2016.