Teacher Says It’s Against His Religion to Call Trans Students by Their Preferred Name and Gender

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John Kluge, an orchestra teacher at Brownsburg High School in Indiana, recently told IndyStar that he personally refuses to call trans students by their preferred names and gender pronouns, saying he will not be compelled to promote something he believes is “a dangerous lifestyle.”

Kluge, who’s 28, says that doing so would violate his religious beliefs and go against his First Amendment rights.

“I’m being compelled to encourage students in what I believe is something that’s a dangerous lifestyle,” Kluge told IndyStar. “I’m fine to teach students with other beliefs, but the fact that teachers are being compelled to speak a certain way is the scary thing.”

For the past school year, Kluge has been allowed to refer to all students by last name only. But the Associated Press reports that Kluge was told by school administrators a few months ago that the last name thing wouldn’t cut it anymore and he’d have to start honoring his students’ preferred names and genders.

It’s now unclear whether or not Kluge still works for the school. While a district representative says he resigned before the school year ended, Kluge denies this. “They’re active as if I have [resigned] even though I’m pleading, ‘No,'” he told the Associated Press. “I’m not dead yet. I still want to work here.”

Which is confusing, because Kluge told IndyStar he turned in a resignation letter and then changed his mind. It seems Kluge now has to decide which he wants more: a job with a paycheck and benefits, or a right to call every living human he encounters for the rest of his life by their last name only. Tough call, my man. Real tough call.

 

Follow Larry Titus on Twitter.

 

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