Meet the People Fired for Being LGBT in 2013
BY Sunnivie Brydum
December 18 2013 5:30 AM ET
Kristen Ostendorf, English and religion teacher at Totino-Grace High School in Fridley, Minn., until August:
An 18-year teaching veteran at a Catholic high school in Fridley, Minn., was forced out after she revealed to fellow faculty that she's in a committed relationship with another woman.
Kristen Ostendorf told the MinnPost she didn't plan to come out, since she knew it would violate the Catholic school's stated policy on "Justice in Employment," which forbids faculty from acting or speaking against the church or its teachings. But on August 21, Ostendorf was in a conference with 120 fellow teachers when she uttered eight words that ended her nearly two decades of service at the parochial school just outside Minneapolis: "I'm gay, I'm in a relationship with a woman, and I'm happy."
The next day, school administrators asked Ostendorf to resign. When she refused, the school fired her.
"I want to be very clear about this," Ostendorf recalled telling administrators. "I'm not embarrassed about what I said. I will not dance around it. I will tell every future employer precisely why I left. And if that's a problem, I don't want to work there. I can't do it anymore."
Ostendorf pointed out that she's the second educator to be forced out of Totino-Grace in recent months after revealing an LGBT identity. The school's president, Bill Hudson, resigned in July after an anonymous source outed him. Hudson acknowledged that he was, in fact, in a committed relationship with another man, and resigned, according to MinnPost.