Teacher in Russia fighting for her job after being outed

Young woman who taught music in a special education school in St. Petersburg, Russia was fired because of her sexual orientation. The teacher has worked in the school since 2011. Her students have taken part in competitions, won prizes. She herself received several awards for her excellence in teaching.

This is not the first time a teacher in Russia has been fired on the grounds of sexual orientation. There is an intensified bullying of LGBT people in recent months caused by the actions of homophobic activist Timur Isaev. Mr. Isaev targets teachers who either are, or support, LGBT people. He collects the information about teachers' sexual orientation through social media and forwards the materials to the school’s directors as well as the district’s administration.

This is the first case when the teacher has refused to quit voluntarily and is ready to defend her employment.

"Working with children is a part of my soul. All these years I have given myself to the job I loved, nurtured the love of art and music in children. Taking into account the abilities of our children, who have moderate or severe delays in mental development, I have tried to make each lesson interesting, bright, and encouraging.”

The school’s director told the teacher that her sexual orientation was incompatible with her teaching position, and gave her a choice to quit voluntarily or to be fired, with her employment history marked accordingly with the Article 81 part 8 of the Labor Code of Russia ("Performing an immoral act by the employee in education that is incompatible with the continuation of such work").

"I was fired because someone thinks my sexual orientation harms children. This is not supported by any law and I have not done anything wrong. I am determined to seek justice to the end!” says the teacher.

The information about the incident was shared by the Russian LGBT organization Coming Out.  Coming Out is providing the legal as well as moral support to the young teacher and will seek recognition of discriminatory nature of the dismissal in court. GLAAD has bee supporting the work of Coming Out over the course of the last 16 months. In September, Coming Out shared photos and video from the Queer Fest held in St. Petersburg, where they were attacked by anti-LGBT activists. Coming Out was also a partner working to advocate for LGBT equality during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.