Ace Schwarz (they/them/theirs)
Meet Ace (they/them/theirs) an aromantic/asexual, trans/nonbinary individual who was the 2019 GLSEN educator of the year and has been working hard to create inclusive classrooms. As an LGBTQ+ influencer and advocate they share their story with us about coming out, gender identity and thoughts on marriage.
Question 1: We first connected through your posts about being an educator on Instagram. Tell us more about your role in the education system and the changes you are advocating for regarding inclusivity for the LGBTQ+ community.
I am a middle school science teacher (6th and 7th grade), and I’ve been teaching for six years.
At my school, I educate staff about pronouns, gender inclusive language, etc. I also incorporate LGBTQ+ themes into various lessons throughout the year
Question 2: You were awarded the GLSEN’s 2019 Educator of the Year Award. How did that come about? What were you highlighted for doing?
I was nominated by a coworker. The award focused on the education and resources I provide on my IG account and website.
Question 3: In one of your more recent posts you talk about how to protect our transgender students within the school system. Can you please elaborate more, so others may be able to understand and help?
It’s so important to have policies in place that protect trans students. This could be anything from using the bathroom that most affirms them to providing a clear transition plan for students who realize they want to use different names/pronouns. It’s also important to stop any transphobic remarks and emphasize safe environments in classrooms.
Question 4: You have a great blog about creating a more inclusive classroom. What are a few tips for our teachers who are Allies?
My top three tips are:
- Listen to LGBTQ+ folks and don’t speak over us
- Use cishet privilege to advocate for change. There is often less risk for you than queer teachers.
- Search for resources created by LGBTQ+ folks instead of demanding labor from co-workers/friends
Question 5: Let’s take some time to talk about your journey. When did you first come out and how did you identify?
I first realized I wasn’t a girl at age 6, but my parents didn’t really understand, so I could never act on it. In middle school, I didn’t really like other people the same way my friends talked about, and I spent a long time thinking something was wrong with me. In college, I discovered the asexual community on Tumblr, and it really resonated with me. After I moved out of my parent’s house, I was able to explore with clothing, hairstyles, etc. and I decided to go by he/him pronouns and use a different name. While it felt nice, it wasn’t totally right, and I learned about what non-binary meant. That feels so right to me!
Question 6: Dash of Pride has a strong focus on changing the conversation around the Wedding Industry and creating more inclusivity. Can you take the time to share your thoughts on marriage and weddings?
As someone who is asexual, I experience love in different ways. I would honestly be happy living with a best friend of multiple roommates for the rest of my life because that’s just how I am. I’m more into platonic love than romantic love. I definitely wouldn’t mind getting married, and I’ve planned a wedding in my head a few times (it’s very nerdy). However, I imagine my marriage itself would be a little different in terms of romance and physical attraction compared to heterosexual couples.
Question 7: On Instagram you have a great presence - what are your goals as an influencer on social media?
I want to continue providing resources and educational content to support educators, caregivers, and administrators. I would like to continue writing more in-depth articles, but for now, the short little snapshots work really well for me.
Question 8: What does Pride mean to you?
Pride means loving where you are on your journey at this moment and appreciating all the growth you’ve gone through to get here.
Question 9: What does it mean to be a part of the Dash of Pride Champions Community?
It’s epic! I love how inclusive the community is and how there are so many awesome products supporting causes.
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