Leo identifies by the non-gender pronoun “they”. No longer a “he” or a “she”, just a “person” who collects a huge settlement when co-workers can’t keep it straight.
An Oregon school district must construct new gender-neutral bathrooms in every school in the district, host mandatory trainings and develop official guidelines for staff on how to address transgenders on everything from bathroom policy to which pronouns to use, plus pay Leo a $60,000 settlement for damages.
The changes are required to accommodate a 5th grade teacher at Hall Elementary School, Leo Soell, who was born a woman, but came out as a NON-gender person after surviving breast cancer and surgery to amputate her breasts.
Soell first started teaching at Hall Elementary in 2013, and told friends and family that year that she no longer identified as a man or a woman. However, Oregon teachers must work their first 3 years under a probation period, so Soell planned to wait three years before “coming out” at school. But breast cancer in 2014 changed that plan.
Upon returning to school after cancer treatment, Soel came out publicly as a person of no gender, or “transmasculine” or “qenderqueer” and requested to be address by the new name, Leo, and by the pronoun “they”. However, Soell reports, fellow teachers continued to use the pronoun “she” or “miss”.
Then there were the bathroom issues. Soell claims other teachers started using the one “gender-neutral” bathroom, keeping it tied up so that it was unavailable for use. Soell submitted a complaint to the school district, but they could find no proof of harassment in their investigation.
Soell finally hired a lawyer, and the school has agreed to settle for $60,000 for attorney fees and emotional distress, address Soell as “they” and convert all bathrooms to gender-neutral facilities.
If a student asks the question, “Are you a boy or a girl?”, Soell replies, “I’m just a person.”
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