A court in St. Petersburg, Russia, has refused to reinstate a lesbian music teacher who lost her job after an antigay activist outed her, the Associated Press reports.
The teacher, identified only by her first name, Alevtina, was one of several targeted by the activist, but she took the rare step of challenging her firing in court. The director of her school asked her to resign last fall, but she refused and then was fired for what the school described as “immoral behavior incompatible with pedagogical activities.”
“I left the director’s office almost in hysterics,” she told the AP. “I didn’t know what to do. I had so many creative plans with my students. I’d put my soul into this work, and I also knew that I wasn’t guilty of anything.”
She was out to only a few people and never attended gay pride events, she told the news service, but she was outed by Timur Isayev, an activist with an antigay organization called Parents of Russia.
At least six teachers who were either gay or gay-supportive have had their jobs threatened by Isayev in the past year, said Kseniya Kirichenko of the LGBT rights group Vykhod. Three resigned, and Alevtina was the only one to take legal action, he said.
Kirichenko announced Thursday that the court this week turned down Alevtina’s reinstatement request. She said Alevtina plans to appeal.
Isayev is currently inactive; he was arrested late last year on charges of stealing money from a company where he worked 10 years ago. He has been convicted and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. But life remains difficult for LGBT teachers in Russia; as they work directly with young people, they are particularly vulnerable to targeting under the law that prohibits exposing minors to “gay propaganda.”