A Minnesota teacher has been fired after she came out to her peers during a workshop which took place on Aug. 21. Former Totino-Grace High school teacher Kristen Ostendorf shared her experienced with the school in an interview with MinnPost dated Sept. 11.
After a long career as a teacher for a Catholic high school, Ostendorf, a self-proclaimed devout Catholic, was asked to resign from her job after she stated the following words at a faculty workshop: "I'm gay, I'm in a relationship with a woman, and I'm happy."
Initially, the school took to asking her to skip training that followed this one, asking Kristen to meet with them. What happened at this meet? It seems the school administration asked her to resign from her faculty position based on the ‘fact’ that her views and principles ‘differed’ greatly from that of the Catholic Church.
Kristen Ostendorf explains how she felt at their request, after having spent over 15 years working for the Catholic community, a community where she explains she was told she was a child of God and all were loved equally.
She comments: “It’s hard though, still, to believe that and then to hear, “We respect everybody” and “Everybody is a child of God,” but “Don’t live your life, don’t love as you are made to love.”
She adds: “I get it. I do. I understand all of it. The fact is, I stood up in a room of 120 people and said, “I’m gay, I’m in a relationship with a woman, and I’m happy.” Probably I’m never going to work in the Catholic Church again. That ship has probably sailed. I know what the rules are, and I know I broke them by speaking the eight words I shouldn’t have said. The next day, I told them I would not be resigning and they gave me what my lawyer says amounts to a letter of termination.”
Kristen is not the only person who is no longer working at Totino-Grace High school for having come out as gay. Former school president William Hudson also resigned after having revealed he was involved in a gay relationship. Neither Ostendorf nor Hudson have returned to the school.
Kristen acknowledges the 2013-2014 school year just started and both their jobs were lost because they chose to share their personal lives with their community. Did they make the right choice?
With same-sex marriage legal in Minnesota , many members of the gay and lesbian community are coming in the hopes their voices will helps others feel safe in doing the same.
Were these the intentions of Kristen Ostendorf and Bill Hudson? If so, did they deserve to lose their careers as educators and administrators with the Catholic educational community?
Sources: SheWired, MinnPost