A high school mathematics teacher who openly talked to some of her students about being a transgender woman was summoned to a hearing for her dismissal.
Marina, who has been for the past three years an outstanding teacher and mentor, says Israel’s Center for Educational Technology (CET) wants her fired for merely discussing her gender identity.
She told her supervisor that on several occasions students asked her about her gender identity, and other issues such as a recent religious ruling that allowed a devout Jewish woman to undergo medically assisted procreation.
Marina was was shocked to get a hearing summons, which reads: ‘During classes to religious girls designated to to study of mathematics, you stimulated a discussion on religion, parenting and sexual orientation.
‘Discussions on social issues are not part your job description, and that is worse tenfold when it comes to adolescents – in which you lack the adequate training’.
Marina told Channel 2 Israel: ‘I tried to explain that I am a human being just like they are and that it has no bearing on me being professional, and they need to accept people as they are’.
She tried to explain ongoing work with pupils includes small talk, and she refuses to hide her identity, ‘coming out should encourage teachers to come out to students to teachers so that neither teachers nor students feel ashamed of themselves’.
Attorney Moshe Shochetman, of the Aguda, Israel’s LGBT advocacy group, told Channel 2: ‘Its very hard for this woman to find work, this is her bread and butter and she’s very good at it – she is outstanding and has received an award for her work.
‘To cut her off with this pretense is to destroy her livelihood’
CET stated that ‘the fact she was transgender was known before being connected with her.
‘The allegation that due to this CET is considering her dismissal is totally false.
‘She was summoned for a hearing only after she spoke with students she mentored on a subject she had no qualifications in – blatantly violating her job description’.
Channel 2 confirmed that there ‘were no complaints filed against Marina and she claims she even got support from some of the students who she managed to teach a lesson in tolerance and acceptance’.
Commenting on the news, Eran Dey of Israel’s LGBT community Facebook page, told Gay Star News: ‘I think transgender people are the least well treated out of the LGBT community in Israel. Employees make their life a living hell if they even manage to make it through a job interview, due to prejudice.
'I find it crucial for cases like Marina’s to go before court to ensure that future employers in Israel would treat transgender and genderqueer people with dignity, equality and respect’.
Yadin Sapir, chair of Ha’vanaa, an organization dedicated to fighting against homophobia and transphobia told GSN: ‘Teachers normally talk with their students on personal and news matters, its hard to imagine the converse – a teacher who is not transgender being summoned for a dismissal hearing.
‘It is particularly insulting to hear a claim as if she wasn’t ‘qualified’ to speak with her students; a claim that hints that the fact she’s a transgender woman is ‘embarrassing’ to CET and requires a ‘special qualification’ when it comes to being discussed with students.
‘This highlights the need not only to bring the institution to court but also to conduct diversity training to employers in Israel’.