Gay teacher forced to hide her identity for fear of losing job

A gay teacher in a Catholic school has hidden her identity in a video for a wedding competition as her sexual orientation may cost her her job.

Gay teacher forced to hide her identity for fear of losing job

The video, entitled ‘Caoimhe and Pixel’, is one of five finalists for Newstalk’s social media competition to win the ultimate wedding. Open to couples of all kinds, Newstalk will cover the costs of the catering, flowers, photographer, and band for the winning entry.

However, one entry has hit the headlines after one half of a lesbian couple has had to pixelate her face over fears it may cost her job.

Posting their entry on YouTube, the couple, who have been together for eight years, explained why one of them had to hide their identity.

“Why the pixelated face? Pixel is a teacher in a Catholic school, and as such is subject to Section 37 of the Equality Employment Act. This states that any employee of an institution may be dismissed from their job for not upholding the ethos of that institution.

“So instead of bowing out, we’ve entered, in the best way we could, by preserving Pixel’s anonymity, and hoping to win despite the unfairness and ridiculousness of the legislation,” stated the entry.

Fianna Fáil senator Averil Power introduced a bill in 2012 aimed at ending the discriminatory elements of Section 37 but was blocked by Government.

However, last month Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin confirmed that religious-run schools and hospitals will be stripped of the ability to sack staff for being gay, divorced, or unmarried parents by Easter.

The move will see Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act changed as it creates fear among employees that they will be sacked simply because how they chose to live their private lives goes against the ethos of what is a Church-run institution.

“They can be sacked, technically, if a board manager felt that someone was actively undermining the ethos of their school by their private life,” said Mr Ó Ríordáin.

“It has a chilling effect when people feel they can’t be themselves. In the staff room they have to hide their private lives; they have to hide the fact that they’re gay, or that they are divorced, or in a second relationship, or that they’re an unmarried parent,” he said.

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