In Watertown, South Dakota, on April 25, Calvin Hillesland, a German teacher at Watertown High School, handed letters to four trans and nonbinary students.
The letters, shared widely on social media by at least two sources, begin as follows:"I am hoping that by now you know me well enough from class to be able to trust me.I respect you.I support you.I want what's best for you.If there were a rattlesnake under a pile of leaves on the path in front of you, I'm hoping you could easily imagine that I would run out ahead of you to warn you.If your home were on fire, I'm hoping you could believe that I would try to help you get out."As this point, the letter takes a turn."That's sort of what's happening now.When you asked me to call your friends by masculine names and I started trying to do that, I was wrong.
It was a lie.I didn't warn you about the rattlesnake.I didn't try to rescue you from your burning home.I hope you'll forgive me — and I want to 'turn things around' now.And like I said — I'm hoping you'll trust me.I realize that what you feel is saying something totally different.But feelings are like a mirage.
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