Gay Teachers Are Already Being Sacked – And The Religious Discrimination Bill Will Make It Worse

"I really enjoyed the colleagues and the relationships with students, but in January this year, the school fired me. And they fired me because I'm gay."

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A school teacher has publicly called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to do more to ensure LGBTIQ teachers and students are protected under the proposed new religious discrimination bill, asserting that she lost her job because of her sexuality.

The new bill was introduced to Parliament on Thursday and seeks to protect Australians who “make statements of belief” from the discrimination laws currently in place on a state level. While there’s a caveat that bans statements that “threaten, intimidate, harass or vilify a person or group,” many are concerned the bill doesn’t go far enough to protect the LGBTIQ community from targeted hate and unfair treatment under the guise of religious belief.

In Thursday’s episode of Q+A, audience member Stephanie Lentz alleged she had been fired from her job as an English teacher at a Christian school in Sydney earlier this year after coming out. Lentz, who is a part of the LGBTIQ community and a member of the Anglican faith, didn’t specify which school she was allegedly fired from.

“I worked at a Christian school teaching English from 2017 to 2019 and I loved it,” Lentz said. “I really enjoyed the colleagues and the relationships with students, but in January this year the school fired me. And they fired me because I’m gay.”

She added that the school didn’t believe she could hold her religious faith and embrace her sexuality. “They fired me because they disagreed with me that you can be Christian and also live true to the biological realities of your sexuality or gender,” she said.

Lentz also clarified that she had no issue teaching the school’s religious content. “I had offered to promote the school’s ethos on sexuality,” she said. “Obviously, notwithstanding things that I believed would be harmful to the students, but I did offer to back the school’s position on a lot of things.