My journey of counselling at a postmodern Canadian university seems to be coming to an end, both with the upcoming end of my contract, and a turn towards illness in my own case with an eye infection. Halloween Day of this year was indeed a challenging day for me: I found participating in the staff meeting as a contract employee difficult, but nevertheless wanted to bring forward a new perspective on learning, that of complexity. My turn came, and I spoke for about five minutes or so on my work with Lectical Complexity Assessment for learning with one client. I felt some fairly pronounced self-consciousness at one point during that presentation. Following that I worked with a female client, going considerably above and beyond the confines of the 30 minutes or so “intake session” which I had informed her about at the beginning. Once she was into her story, it seemed impolite to stay within that timeframe. Therefore, I ended up working with her not only beyond the normal intake session, but beyond the hour in part because she touched into an emotional depth that made it, again, impolite to complete sooner. I booked her three follow up sessions with me, which I hadn’t really done with anyone before, as a way to address her concerns about the fact that my contract was ending the end of November. I felt it had been a challenging but rewarding day, and yet I noticed as the day progressed that my right eye began to feel very stressed. By the time I went to bed, I was feeling concerned, and sure enough I awoke with a full on infection in my right eye. As I am a contract employee, I have limited sick day benefits, so don’t believe I will be entitled to compensation while missing work, and am into my second day of work missed at the time of this writing. I am taking two topical antiobiotics, while being curious if this isn’t a viral illness. I am following up with the eye specialist, but was just informed he isn’t back in the office until Nov. 20th.
While going onto the email system to find the phone number for the administrative assistant, in order to call in sick, I discovered that this female client with whom I had worked overtime, and made a special arrangement for three follow up sessions, decided to cancel our follow up sessions. I felt crestfallen by this outcome, and it confirmed my suspicion that indeed the postmodern university has been ruined by a gender essentialism masquerading as gender progressivism, such that young self-identified women (our system tracks all pronoun preferences) are simply unable to recognize trustworthy male support when it is provided. And the hiring system, with its equity policies driven by quotas, is unable to give self-identified males like me the opportunity to even be there on a longer term basis in order to provide this support. Should I disengenously self-identify as a female – one awaiting sex reassignment surgery – in order to become eligible for employment according to the quota driven equity policy? It has emerged in my mind as a possible strategy, albeit fleetingly, since it doesn’t really SEEM like an honest path for me. Perhaps I need to be more fearless and embrace this path? In my case, I would need to be of self-identifed female gender, awaiting sexual reassignment surgery, while being of the homosexual, i.e. lesbian sexual orientation, since I am attracted to females. Just like one of the lead characters on Sense 8 by the Wachowskis, come to think of it. Hmmmmmm. Seems like a pretty intrusive way, biologically, to manipulate myself in order to be eligible for a job though.
I think I have taken this story as far as I can right now. I am “stumped”.