Presentation on theme: "Fáilte Inclusion in the Teaching Profession Sexual Orientation Marital/Civil Status Barra Ó Dochartaigh (Presenter) Nora Hamill (Rapporteur)"— Presentation transcript:
Fáilte Inclusion in the Teaching Profession Sexual Orientation Marital/Civil Status Barra Ó Dochartaigh (Presenter) Nora Hamill (Rapporteur)
2 Sexual Orientation Heterosexuality assumed to be the norm (Heteronormativity) Spectrum (Kinsey Reports 1948 & 1953) ‘LGB’ - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Sexuality decided by hormones in vitro Many cultures accept diverse relationships What about Ireland?
3 The situation in Ireland Victorian values until relatively recently Homosexual acts legalized: - in NI in 1982 (Dudgeon v UK, ECHR) - in ROI in 1993 (Norris v Ireland, ECHR) Equality legislation (1980’s +) Civil Partnerships: - in NI in in ROI in 2010?
4 ‘The Closet’ Being in ‘The Closet’ is the state where someone does not openly acknowledge their sexuality as gay, lesbian or bisexual Detrimental to mental health because it leads to internal conflict Various strategies employed to cover up their sexuality (e.g. the pronoun game, being vague about their social life, etc.)
5 ‘Coming Out’ “Coming Out” (of the Closet) is the process whereby someone begins to fully acknowledge their sexuality: - initially to themselves - then (perhaps) to family and/or friends - then (perhaps) to work colleagues - finally (maybe) to all Important that individual decides the pace
6 Obstacles to openness Perceived societal norms Media messages (e.g. Hollywood) Church teachings (‘intrinsically disordered’) Homophobia (external and internal) Fear of reprisals (verbal, physical, legal) “All cruelty springs from weakness” Seneca (4 BC – 65 AD)
7 Section 37(1) Section 37(1) of the Employment Equality Acts allows faith-based schools to: “…take action which is reasonably necessary to prevent an employee or a prospective employee from undermining the religious ethos of the institution.” Never been tested – a Sword of Damocles Similar legislation in NI and GB
8 How would you react?
9 INTO LGB Teachers Group Initial meeting in November 2004 Meets several times a year in Dublin, occasional meetings in Cork, etc. Provides support to LGB teachers Campaigns on LGB equality issues Major aim now is repeal of Section 37(1) Fully supported by INTO (CEC, EQC, etc.)
10 Good Practice Guidelines Be aware that a percentage (est.10%) of your colleagues are lesbian, gay or bisexual Challenge homophobia (e.g. jokes) Use gender-neutral language (‘partner’) Ensure that staff events which involve partners are open to all partners Support LGB colleagues Don’t hide the issue – Break the silence! Produced by INTO LGB Teachers Group – full list on INTO website
11 Marital/Civil Status Family Married Civil Partners CohabitingSeparatedDivorcedSingle
12 Changing families Traditional view (i.e. marriage for life with children) no longer holds Multitude of family situations, with and without children ‘Blended’ families At present approximately one-third of children are born outside marriage, with more than half to cohabiting parents
13 Bunreacht na hÉireann Requires the state to protect the family “as the natural, primary and fundamental unit group of society” Also requires the state“to guard with special care the institution of marriage on which the family is founded”
14 Issues Marriage implicitly one man and one woman – LGB relationships unrecognized Unequal treatment of families not based on marriage Failure to protect children outside marriage Strong poverty link with family status
15 Consequences Immigration policy on family reunification mirrors constitutional position LGB partners denied next-of-kin rights in hospital and other settings Unmarried fathers have to seek guardianship of their children LGB and lone parents cannot adopt Social Welfare system based on ‘male breadwinner’ model
16 Civil Partnership NI (2005) – same-sex couples only ROI (2010?) – same-sex couples, unmarried opposite-sex couples, cohabiting companions (non-sexual relationships) In terms of rights legislation ‘Marital Status’ becomes ‘Civil Status’
17 Rights & Responsibilities Maintenance of partner (and children) Next-of-Kin rights Taxation Inheritance & Pension benefits Property (Housing, Tenancies) Insurance Social Security Parental Responsibility
18 Conclusions Society is diversifying – we must learn to accept and embrace diversity Teachers and schools are key to orderly societal change Teachers and schools must lead by example Teachers and schools have a duty to promote tolerance of and respect for diversity