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Teacher who came out as transgender at school inspires students and colleagues to live their truths

Teacher who came out as transgender at school inspires students and colleagues to live their truths

Michael Megenbir knew he had the increase of his co-group and school administration when he came out publicly as transgender in 2017. What he couldn’t predict was how the openness about his identification would encourage his students and colleagues to live their truths, and pave the manner for added conversations around inclusion.

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Michael Megenbir, a Regina teacher who came out publicly as transgender whereas educating in 2017, says he hadn’t anticipated how his openness about his identification would pave the manner for added conversations about inclusion in schools. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC)

Michael Megenbir was someone who in total kept his private existence separate from work. That is, till one June day in 2017.

Sitting among his fellow educators in the library of the Regina school where he worked at the time, the intensive increase teacher rose at the three hundred and sixty five days-discontinue group meeting to lisp to his colleagues that he’s transgender.

“I if reality be told appreciate and admire all of you, and I assume you all definitely feel the an identical intention about me,” Megenbir, now 37, remembered saying. 

He went on to repeat them that after they return to work in the tumble, he’d be altering his title to Michael and using he/him pronouns. 

Megenbir’s fingers were sweaty as he assessed the room. 

“I take into account having a contemplate out and seeing the faces, focusing in on a pair of the group who I had develop into definitely end with and glorious watching them smile,” he stated.

Then came the applause.

“It was definitely a puny bit overwhelming, but in a great intention,” Megenbir stated. “It gave me that puny boost of self assurance and it glorious let me know that I was doing the right kind thing.”

In 2018, Megenbir had his long-awaited top surgical treatment, marking the predominant time in decades he says he felt ‘overjoyed in my web pores and skin.’ (Submitted by Michael Megenbir)


Allison Boulanger, who knew Megenbir as a legitimate friend and colleague for years sooner than his transition, remembers smiling and clapping in the workers.

“When he obtained up to repeat the group, you may maybe maybe maybe maybe also repeat this was one thing that was correct for him and it was how he essential to live his existence — and live his existence definitely,” she remembered thinking. 

Megenbir was reassured he had the increase of his co-group and school administration; what he may maybe maybe maybe now not predict was how his openness about his identification would encourage his students and colleagues to live their truths, and pave the manner for added conversations around inclusion in schools.

‘Enterprise as normal’

Fast forward to the original school three hundred and sixty five days that tumble, and Megenbir stated it was a welcome surprise to perceive there was “very puny replace” in how other folk treated him. He joked it was almost as though his colleagues practised over the summer. 

“It was variety of business as normal,” he stated with a chuckle.

Megenbir renowned that reputedly puny issues, appreciate the utilization of his pronouns and original title, made the greatest impact on feeling permitted. And on the off-likelihood other folk messed up, they were fast to glorious themselves and didn’t scheme attention to it. 

“It was the happiest he’d been,” Boulanger remembered noticing. “You furthermore mght can repeat that he felt appreciate himself.”

The next three hundred and sixty five days, Megenbir had long-awaited top surgical treatment — a mastectomy and chest-sculpting map. “It was the predominant time in my existence since I was maybe nine or 10 years customary that I felt overjoyed in my web pores and skin,” he stated.

Megenbir dressed up as Kenny Rogers for Halloween in 2019 whereas his honest proper friend and colleague, Allison Boulanger, dressed up as Dolly Parton. (Submitted by Michael Megenbir)


Making students definitely feel ‘a puny bit bit extra understood’

When the opportunity arose for Megenbir to attend initiate a joyful-straight alliance (GSA) at the school, it naturally sparked conversations about his gender identification with students.

On the predominant day of the GSA, when he obtained all americans to introduce themselves, he stated, “I’m enraged to be right here and to be a phase of the GSA because I’m transgender” — one thing that bowled over a pair of students. 

All that I’m hoping my students seize far from any stumble upon with me in my understanding is that it be OK to be who you are.– Michael Megenbir

Some teenagers told Megenbir he was the predominant person in the LGBTQ workers they’d ever met. That’s the second he knew sharing a portion of who he was added a layer of increase for these young other folk who essential it.

“All that I’m hoping my students seize far from any stumble upon with me in my understanding is that it be OK to be who you are,” he stated. “As an educator, if that’s the greatest thing I ever inform a student, I may maybe maybe web felt appreciate I did my job.”

Megenbir and his dilapidated student, Rylan Moir, level to off their matching moustaches at the Regina Pleasure festival in 2018. Megenbir stated the increase he obtained for the duration of his transition from his students and their other folk was ‘overwhelmingly sure.’ (Submitted by Michael Megenbir)


As a teacher outside the LGBTQ workers, Boulanger stated having Megenbir as a resource for students throughout your whole school proved functional.

“I’d at all times repeat students, ‘I’m right here for these who desire to discuss to me,’ but Mike was glorious the person they gravitated towards because he glorious knows what’s occurring and how they’re feeling,” she stated. “He glorious has a mode of establishing them definitely feel a puny bit bit extra understood.”

Taking a contemplate assist on his childhood in rural Saskatchewan, Megenbir wonders how diversified his gender identification jog may maybe maybe web been had he had a teacher who was launch about being distinctive, or assets appreciate a GSA.

He thinks it could actually maybe maybe maybe now not web taken him till he was 30 to live out his reality had he had these sure influences.

“It was definitely tough to definitely feel that you were diversified, and also be made to definitely feel appreciate there was one thing corrupt with you due to that,” he stated.

He features to a image of himself in a dress at his other folk’ wedding as an example.

When he appears to be like at his childhood photos, Michael Megenbir says he would now not acknowledge who he frail to be on the outside; nonetheless, on the within, he stated he’s ‘the precise same now, glorious in diversified packaging.’ (Jessie Anton/CBC)

“As a toddler, I never cherished dressing up, particularly in dresses,” he stated. “This image is how my family explains who I’m and web at all times been: a puny bit goofy, dancing to my web drum and now not caring what someone else thinks about me.

“I’m the precise same now, glorious in diversified packaging.”

LGBTQ inclusion in the classroom

Speaking about LGBTQ representation among teachers is mandatory, too, stated Raylee Perkins, a teacher-librarian at any other Regina school.

“Whatever a person’s coming out story is, it be basically sad and steeped in trauma,” stated Perkins. “Seeing someone appreciate Mike, who’s totally overjoyed and radiates this appreciate and joy, it demonstrates that you may maybe maybe maybe maybe also moreover web that joy on your future — and you don’t at all times perceive that in books or on TV.” 

Raylee Perkins, a Regina teacher-librarian who openly identifies as distinctive at school, says it be essential for teachers and students to perceive LGBTQ position units with sure experiences. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC)

That’s in phase why Perkins is launch about figuring out as distinctive at school. Nonetheless that also approach the advocacy work to promote LGBTQ inclusion in the classroom tends to tumble on her shoulders, despite the handiest efforts of allies spherical her.

“Every so often, it be felt appreciate I was the greatest distinctive snarl in the room or distinctive snarl in the conversation, and that can even be definitely stupid,” she stated.

According to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education’s online page, the authorities “is committed to making sure schools are accumulate and inclusive environments for all students, including these who establish as gender and/or sexually various.”

That entails encouraging school divisions to invent insurance policies namely to encompass groups, appreciate GSAs, to create accumulate spaces for LGBTQ students and their allies. The province’s Deepening the Discussion: Gender and Sexual Form framework from 2015 also contains curriculum for teachers and school administrators. 

Regina’s public school board also honest lately unanimously celebrated working towards for teachers and group about gender and sexual diversity

While LGBTQ inclusion exists under the curriculum, Boulanger stated there are level-headed some teachers who don’t quilt it in their classrooms.

“In the event that they’ll initiate talking about it and discuss to other folk who establish as LGBTQ, that may maybe maybe maybe attend them to imprint that it be now not one thing to worry; it be one thing to be taught about and to grow,” she stated.

Creating extra transgender inclusive spaces

To construct sure that her classroom or library is visibly inclusive to transgender other folk, Perkins hangs posters that delineate the room as a accumulate state, and she wears rainbow pins and pronoun buttons.

“For some teenagers, they’ll never perceive these puny essential features, but for the teenagers who need it, they’ll perceive even the smallest detail,” she stated.

Allison Boulanger, Megenbir’s honest proper friend and dilapidated colleague, says having openly LGBTQ teachers can give students a mode of belonging. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC)

Perkins also makes a degree of now not shying far from answering tough questions and having extra advanced talks together with her students.

Boulanger agreed, saying that on top of the curriculum around diversity and identification, she finds casual chats together with her students to be primarily the most impactful.

Taking a contemplate assist on Megenbir’s sure “coming out story” at work, Perkins stated it has created a accumulate status for other LGBTQ other folk to establish the an identical.

“Both [students and teachers] can contemplate to him as a position mannequin or for hope — whatever that is for them,” she stated. “The extra we can perceive it and discuss about it and now not be fearful of these conversations and face them head-on, I assume the extra growth we will construct.”

Teacher who came out as transgender at school inspires students and colleagues to live their truths