Italy: Catholic school “fires teacher for refusing to deny being a lesbian”

The teacher, who gave the name Silvia, claimed that Sacro Cuore school near Trento let her go because she refused to confirm or deny rumours that she was a lesbian.  She told newspaper La Repubblica: “What happened to me is medieval. Maybe I’m a lesbian, maybe I’m not. But asking me about my sexual orientation as a condition for renewing my contract is unacceptable.” ‘Silvia’ said she had worked at the school for five years and lives with her partner in Trento.

Earlier this month, Sister Eugenia Libratore, Headmistress of the school and Mother Superior, admitted to newspaper Corriere that she chose not to renew the teacher’s contract after hearing rumors that she was a lesbian, despite laws prohibiting such discrimination in the workplace. She said: “I told her that I had heard these rumours, and that I hoped they were only rumours. Catholic schools have […] a certain set of educational and moral aspects, and to us it seems that we have to defend these at all costs.”

Stefania Giannini, Italy’s education minister, said yesterday in La Repubblica that she would investigate the matter and “act with due severity” if the allegations were found to be true.