11 reasons why I go by “Dr. Pegoda” in the classroom (and professionally, depending on the circumstances):

1. “Dr. Pegoda” is fully gender neutral. Decolonizing my gender is apparently a life-long process. 

2. For a number of reasons, I have never liked “Mr. Pegoda.” (Following conventions, I used “Professor Pegoda” before finishing my doctorate, never “Mr. Pegoda.”)

3. In an age where experts are disrespected, it helps remind students and others that there are doctors–doctors who don’t practice medicine.

4. It recognizes the hierarchy inherently involved in educational systems–rather than ignoring it or down-playing it by having students call me “Andrew.” When it comes down to it, I evaluate work and assign grades, as required by our conventions. 

5. It took a really long time and lots of hard work to earn the “Dr.” honorific. “Dr” recognizes a specific kind of hard work and achievement.   

6. People in the United States need to respect status, titles, and traditions. Much more so than in the U.S., in Germany “Doctor” becomes part of one’s legal name, and it’s considered rude to not use it. (There have been too many occasions when people have insisted on using “Mr.” when “Mr.” is inappropriate.)

7. It’s one tiny way to support people who were not given Male Privilege and/or White Privilege at birth, who typically struggle even more to be addressed appropriately. White men in the U.S. can go by a first name and be respected much easier than others. (See Susan Harlan’s poem, “My First Name“)

8. There’s nothing about using my professional, full name that prevents mentor-mentee bonds from developing with students. Calling professors “Doctor” never prevented me from developing strong professor-student relationships as an undergraduate, either.

9. I like how “Dr. Pegoda” sounds, even though I’m still not sure who that is just yet 😉 , and people have a right to be addressed how they wish. 

10. Internalizing what amounts to a new name is part of the process of more fully entering my chosen profession.

11. Going by “Dr. Pegoda” is part of doing what I want to do, part of having some control in my life.

(12. It puts me on par with Dr. Trevor Lovejoy!)

Of course, I’m still “AJP” or “Andrew” to friends; although, my mother frequently calls me, simply, “doctor.”

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda