Crowe expresses support for legislation to enhance rights of lesbian and gay teachers
Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Deputy Seán Crowe has voiced support for legislation going before the Seanad today that if implemented, will enhance the human rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual teachers.
He continued: “While Irish society has generally become more accepting of homosexuality, many gay teachers in schools still risk falling victim to discrimination, or being put in a position where their job is at risk should their sexuality become clear.
“It is unacceptable in this day and age, that any teacher should risk facing dismissal on the grounds of their sexual orientation. This is currently the case because of the existence of an archaic law that permits employers to penalise employees for actions that supposedly ‘undermine’ their religious standards.
“The sexual preference of a teacher should have no bearing on their ability to fulfil their role as educators whilst at the same time adhering to the religious ethos of the school where they teach.
“Despite this, Irish schools can often be hostile places for people who are gay. Many risk discrimination with some being passed over for promotion. Others have been verbally abused and found themselves the victims of jokes and bullying.
“When a school has an ethos that is hostile to gay and lesbians then this can have implications for pupils who risk being bullied should they disclose their sexuality. It is a factor that can lead to depression, self-harm and suicide.
“I therefore welcome the Bill that is going before the Seanad which makes amendments to the Employment Equality Act that will hopefully address homophobic discrimination.
“No one employed in a school setting should be targeted or victimised because of their sexual orientation.”