Scroll To Top

Bisexual and
booted from the classroom

Bisexual and
booted from the classroom


When sixth-grade students asked their new teacher whether he was gay, he told the truth, then changed the subject. But the other teachers and the school administrators kept the focus on his personal life from that point on

On the first day of schoolothe first day of my first teaching job as a sixth grade teacheroI confronted two students using extremely homophobic and derogatory words about homosexuals. These students then asked me if I am gay. I said yes. This caused such a big stir among the sixth-grade students that I had to clarify myself as being married to a woman, but having previously identified as being gay, although now I am bisexual. The students seemed to have many questions about this, but instead of turning the day into a sexuality awareness day, I changed the subject to the prescribed curriculum. The second day I arrived expecting a picket line of Catholic parents protesting my position, but there werenit. Later that day, though, I was pulled aside by an administrator who had received a phone call from a parent concerned about the discussion of sexuality. The administrator told me to keep my ipersonali life secret and not to discuss sexuality with the students. Later I met other GLBT teachers and realized how terrified they are about anybody knowing their sexuality. Over the following few weeks I endured many students shouting slanderous antigay epithets at me. Another teacher at the school pulled his own son from my class. The first words of his reasoning referred to how inappropriate it was to tell the students of my bisexuality. I was beginning to feel as if being bisexual is a shameful thing, because the overriding culture of the school was beginning to seem extremely homophobic. Two weeks later I was assigned a mentor, a school administrator and former teacher, to support me in teaching the curriculum and managing the classroom. When he told me of his assignment, his first words were how he would like to have fired me the first day of school because being open about my bisexuality is completely inappropriate in his mind. He then told me how devoutly Catholic he is. He did not allow me to play any more music, put the students into small groups, or facilitate any art projects. I was to teach strictly by the scripted curriculum with the students sitting at desks in straight lines. He did not allow any deviation from the curriculum. Apparently during this time he was accumulating a folder of evidence proving how unsafe my classroom is and how I refuse to teach the curriculum appropriately. Every time I would speak with the principal about how I was doing, the principal would always remind me that my having been open sexuality about my sexuality had been a mistake. I was not supported by the administration, I was failing my students because of the enforced lack of undifferentiated instruction, and the parents started complaining about me. The principal told me I gave the students too much freedom and suggested I resign. I did. I was growing tired of confronting such discrimination. I will take some time off now from teaching, but I would like eventually to be a classroom teacher again. I feel I have the right to be openly bisexual and hope to find a place where such an opinion is respected. Every great teacher I ever had has always brought his or her "private" life into the classroom as a reference to the subject matter. Fortunately for those teachers, they were straight religious types, with a iprivatei life accepted by mainstream culture. It is such a shame that teachers without the cookie-cutter lifestyle are censored and absolutely frightened of anybody knowing exactly how they feel. I dream of a day when students and teachers can have open and honest discussions without fear. Maybe once gay people can be married to their same-sex partners they can finally be teachers. I dare every teacher to discuss gay equality as one of our countryis civil rights.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories