A few weeks ago a Florida K-12 teacher was fired for refusing to call a transgender student by that student's preferred name. While certainly a high school needs to have some basic limits on the idea that students can be called – No, the teacher is not going to call you "Fuck Machine" or a racial slur – this teacher's decision is otherwise perplexing. At least on the surface.
As a teacher, literally nothing could be less important than what the students prefer to be called. Steve. Mary. Cipher. Iron Man. Ming the Merciless. Question Q. Mysterio. My Little Pony. Like, there is no conceivable reality in which what a student asks me to call them (whether it is a proper name or some infantile nickname) matters. We just work together. I am paid to do a job, and that makes some things about the students my problem – whether they do the assigned work, behaviors they may engage in during our brief time together in class that violate school policy, assigning them a grade, and that's pretty much it.
Their personal lives? Irrelevant, unless I have reason to think they're being abused, harming themselves, or in danger. The matter of what they want other people to call them, as long as it's not "Lil Dago" or some shit, is so far beyond being worth my time and effort to care about at all, it can't be expressed properly within the limits of English. Frankly I consider it a win if I learn everyone's name (in college, we don't see them but an hour or so per week).
In that light, the Florida teacher's choice of hills to die on makes little sense. But look at it another way and we can see that he is simply behaving rationally in response to current incentives. He figures the meager salary of a teacher pales in comparison to what he can make emulating other right-wing self-made martyrs. The book deal! The spots on Tucker Carlson! The GoFundMe! Hell, he can probably get his teacher salary covered overnight with the right publicity. Get Jordan Peterson to retweet that link and he'll wake up rich.
A more obvious example is that Kent State girl who posed with an AR-15 in her graduation picture. I refuse to link her or use her name. She is engaging in Twitter attention-seeking behavior so over the top, shameless, and obvious that an Officer Darren Wilson sex tape can't be far off if she doesn't get a book deal soon. You have a person who fundamentally is not interesting at all but as a woman under 50 is savvy enough to realize that the bar on the right is so very low that she still could make a very lucrative career out of it. Tomi Lahren Tryouts, live on Twitter.
I don't begrudge anyone earning a living, but it's pretty pathetic to see people openly resume-building to get in on what is nothing but an enormous grift. Take some idiotic "moral" stand and you too can cash in Kim Davis style. Kick some gays out of your failing diner and wake up rich. Regurgitate talking points a child can see through and end up with one of the easiest jobs on Earth. Beats the hell out of teaching or looking for a job with a BA from Kent State.