Humanities Teacher Transitions to Nonbinary


Submitted Photo

Mx. Williams in front of their “First Amendment Mini Me” art assignments.

“I just kept feeling out of place, kept feeling wrong, and kept feeling, like, uncomfortable in almost any situation.  It just got to the point where I figured there was something else going on.”  This is how Mx. Williams, humanities teacher at MIT Academy Middle School, felt before they transitioned to nonbinary.  

On October 11, National Coming Out Day, Mx. Williams formally announced their transition from the male gender to nonbinary.  In doing so, Williams requests that the pronoun “they” be used when referring to them.  They also changed their first name from Matt to Matty and have requested that students refer to them as Mx. Williams rather them Mr. Williams.  (Mx. is pronounced “mix.”)

It is important to know that Mx. Williams has transitioned socially and not physically.  They have no intention of taking hormones or having surgery.

Since middle school, Williams remembers not necessarily feeling like they fit in, especially with the other boys their age.  It wasn’t until they were in college that they realized the way they felt had to do with the gender with which they identify.  

While at Chico State, they took classes on gender and sexuality, almost earning a minor.  During those courses, Williams realized that “nonbinary” fit them better than “male” or “female.”

Williams’ thinking about clothing has evolved.  The key is for them to dress in a way that makes them feel confident.  

Williams has given a lot of thought to their new look.  They described their process this way:

“At first, I did a lot of experimenting in terms of colors, patterns, clothing items, because it was new to me and I was trying to figure out what I liked and did not like. Over the past few months, I have settled into this look that I like to call “masculine feminine.” While, yes, I almost always wear dresses to work now, I tend to choose dresses that have more of a “masculine” cut/fit/color/pattern to them. I feel like this does a good job of honoring both the masculine and feminine parts of my identity. This is also one of the main reasons I have retained my beard.” 

Williams also explained to me that at this point, they don’t think of clothing as being masculine or feminine – it is just fabric that covers one’s body.

When they thought about finally coming out, they were terrified of the prospect that people would reject them.  They struggled with that for a while. As they got older they stopped worrying so much about what other people were thinking and started to focus on how they felt themself.  

They realized that it wasn’t worth it for them to go through their life feeling uncomfortable and out of place just for the sake of keeping other people happy. 

 It was during COVID that they had time to think and realized how they needed to come out.  They first started coming out to close friends and family.  They were hesitant about coming out at work for a long time. In the end, they felt like it was a good opportunity to lead by example and be a role model for students who might be feeling the same way that they did.                                                            

During COVID I decided to identify as nonbinary. It makes me happy to have a teacher that is nonbinary like Mx. Williams. I feel more comfortable in school seeing myself in my teachers, and knowing that my gender is represented in my classroom. It is also inspiring to know that a teacher didn’t like their gender the same as I did, and decided to be true to themself. 

Mx. Williams is a role model for me and that helps me to feel more comfortable being myself.  

My classmates were also supportive of Mx. Williams’ transition.  When Williams came out to their third period class, they were “genuinely surprised” when the class applauded.

 Williams now feels great at school.  They said, “I now get to dress in a way that honors all of the parts of my identity.”