Minnesota teacher Kristen Ostendorf is out of a job right now because she’s a lesbian. After 18 years at Totino-Grace High School, during which she kept her sexuality secret, the 43-year-old teacher came out last month in a workshop with her fellow teachers about how to make one’s mark in Catholic social justice. “I tried to figure out how I could encourage others to ‘make their mark’ if I was willing to be part of a community where I was required to hide and compromise and deny who I am,” she told the Minneapolis Post.
So, Ostendorf told her colleagues: “I’m gay, I’m in a relationship with a woman, and I’m happy.”
Several coworkers emailed Ostendorf to say they were proud of her for coming out publicly at work — although “most,” she said, already knew she was gay. But the Catholic school’s president Julie Michaels (who actually replaced a gay man who was forced to resign this summer after he was “outed”) called Ostendorf into a meeting the next day, in which she was asked to resign. When Ostendorf refused to resign, they received a letter of termination. The school did not give Ostendorf an official reason for the firing and in a statement said it was “a private matter between an employer and employee.” As Ostendorf told the MinnePost, “As far as I can surmise, the rule I broke was saying out loud that I am in a relationship with a woman.”
She believes revealing her relationship status may have violated a document she signed upon employment in which she agreed to “not publicly act or speak against the Church or its teachings.” Hmm. Interesting. I wonder if Totino-Grace High School fires everyone who uses birth control, too?
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[Image via Raw Story]