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Fáilte Inclusion in the Teaching Profession Sexual Orientation Marital/Civil Status Barra Ó Dochartaigh (Presenter) Nora Hamill (Rapporteur)

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Presentation on theme: "Fáilte Inclusion in the Teaching Profession Sexual Orientation Marital/Civil Status Barra Ó Dochartaigh (Presenter) Nora Hamill (Rapporteur)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Fáilte Inclusion in the Teaching Profession Sexual Orientation Marital/Civil Status Barra Ó Dochartaigh (Presenter) Nora Hamill (Rapporteur)

2 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 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 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 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 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 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 8 How would you react?

9 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 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 11 Marital/Civil Status Family Married Civil Partners CohabitingSeparatedDivorcedSingle

12 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 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 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 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 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 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 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


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