‘I was Prof Salvatore, today I am Prof Simona’ 

A moment of inclusion and acceptance for Simona Fatima Cira Aiello, an Italian and History teacher in Torre Annunziata.

Aiello, a fifty-one year old trans woman, tells Corriere del Mezzogiorno, a local newspaper, how, after her transition, she was well received by her students and, in general, by her fellow teachers: “I went from being a male professor to a female one, and it was completely natural, even for my pupils”.

During the interview, Aiello explains that being a woman does not have to mean wearing stiletto heels or skirts: “you can also go out in trousers and be told ‘good morning ma’am’. It’s all in how you pose”. In fact, the professor has always lived her gender identity with subtlety, choosing to wear simple, understated clothes. This was also to accustom her pupils to the idea that their teacher was changing in an important way.

Aiello confirmed the transition wasn’t easy, but that the warmth of her pupils was invaluable. She began transitioning slowly: one day earrings, another day nail polish. The pupils quickly got accustomed, didn’t ask direct questions, and approached the situation with sensitivity. In fact the whole school followed suit with messages of encouragement and support. Very few colleagues distanced themselves or disagreed with Aiello’s choice – though some sadly have. 

Today, Aiello considers herself fortunate, especially concerning the relationship with her pupils, who welcomed her in the same way as she welcomed them as an educator.

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