What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here.  Today’s guest post is by A Lesbian Teacher.

I want you to know that parent teacher conferences are my biggest fear. Not because I’m scared of talking about your kid, but because I’m scared you’ll see my wedding ring and ask me what my husband does.

I want you to know that’s why I keep my left hand under my thigh, under the table, praying you don’t ask me to sign something because then I’ll have to take my hand out from hiding, hold the paper down, and risk the inevitable, “Oh! That’s beautiful!” about my ring.

I want you to know I avoid pronouns like the plague.

I want you to know when you mention you go to church, I become even more terrified, and then terrified in a different way because I don’t know why I have this preconceived notion about Christians.

I want you to know your children are the most open individuals. Not because they know I’m gay (I’m sure some do, and I’m sure some of you do too), but because when I make my obligatory, “Well, it doesn’t SAY the gender of the spouse in the story…” plug, they nod along and never question my motives.

I want you to know I resent myself every day. I resent the homophobia I feel towards myself. A phobia I never had in my entire life until this profession.

I want you to know I feel like I sell out every single day, but for some reason I refuse to take off my ring, be closeted around my coworkers, or lie when an unsuspecting student asks the dreaded question: “Are you married?”

I want you to know part of me breaks inside when I see your children struggling with their sexual identities and me not being able to help.

I want you to know sometimes I make myself searchable on Google so questioning students can find me, see the truth, and feel not alone.

I want you to know it terrifies me to be searchable on Google. And to have students tell me they “found me,” and give me a hug, and run down the hall.

I want you to know I could be fired for all of this, but I stay because I believe in your children. I believe in myself. I believe I am meant to do this.