Thursday, January 8, 2009
She was discriminated against and well then it happened again
Admired Lesbian Fired by Detroit Catholic School
(Bloomfield Hills; 18 October 2006----) A dedicated and much-loved employee of a Detroit-area high school was fired last week following the publication of her book which detailed the harassment she endured for being a lesbian on the Detroit Police force.
Charlene Genther was fired on 13 October from her position of Campus Safety Officer at Marian High School, a position she held since 2001. Genther says the president of the school, Lenore Pochelski, told her that she had to leave because, as an out lesbian, her "lifestyle did not go along with the teachings of the Catholic Church." Marian, a Catholic, college preparatory high school for young women, is under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Genther left the Detroit Police Department after nearly 15 years. She was one of the "first 100" female police officers assigned to patrol duty in 1975.
Since her firing last Friday, hundreds of former and current Marian students and families have expressed outrage and sorrow that Genther had been fired. Many students have begun a petition to bring her back.
"Your kind, caring and watchful eye over out daughters for these many years has been greatly appreciated," said the mother of a former student.
"[With Genther gone] it makes me sad to know what future generations of students will be missing" at Marian, said a former student.
Because Michigan law does not protect gays and lesbians from workplace discrimination, Genther has little legal recourse.
"Unfortunately, Charlene is suffering a second round of anti-gay discrimination," said Jeffrey Montgomery, Executive Director of Triangle Foundation. "It's a horrible lesson to be teaching those girls: that being honest will cost you your job. It's also hypocritical, because even the Church says job discrimination against gays and lesbians is wrong. She was a role model and mentor and they cast her out."
"To think they preached about respect for all, we are all children of God and that we not judge people..." said another student. "I personally feel that they are wrong to be teaching something that they are not practicing." She concluded.
In further tribute, another mother of Marian students wrote a note to Genther and said, "There is one very important thing I have never said but mean it very much. Thank you very much for loving my daughters. They are better young women for having you in their life."
"Clearly the Catholic hierarchy continues to get the gay question all wrong," Montgomery said. "In the process they waste and destroy their most precious human resources, whether they are in the pulpits or laypeople. It's a bad habit that must be broken."
Charlene Genther will be reading from her book, "Badge 3483," on Saturday 28 October at St. Andrews Church in Clawson (340 North Main Street), beginning at 1:30pm.