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Friday, July 11, 2014

Gaylord Fired from Teaching Position in Tacoma for Being a Gaylord

Posted by on Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 12:03 PM

…in 1972. His name is Jim Gaylord, he'd done nothing wrong, and in fact what got him into trouble was something we would all agree was the right thing to do. He listened and tried to be supportive to a gay student who was on the verge of committing suicide, never telling the kid he was gay himself. Take it away, Tacoma News Tribune:

In 1972, a Wilson student who knew a gay adult friend of Gaylord’s approached the teacher to discuss the student’s attraction to other boys.

“As I recall it was almost totally inconsequential,” Gaylord said of the talk. He did not reveal his orientation to the boy.

Sometime later, the boy tried to commit suicide. While being interviewed by the police the boy related that he had spoken to Gaylord, who he had presumed to be gay.

The police went to Wilson and the vice principal came to Gaylord.

“I didn’t think that merely saying nothing or denying it would be very productive,” Gaylord said. “They had gone this far. They weren’t going to give up. So I said, yes, it’s true.”

A few weeks later, on Nov. 21, 1972, Gaylord received a letter telling him he was to be fired.

Read the whole story. Gaylord fought hard to keep his job and lost. His only "crime" was not lying when the vice principal showed up at his house to ask him if he was "a homosexual." The story's a great reminder of how far we've come (and how awful school boards and the Supreme Court can be). I used to get called "gaylord"—and "fatty" and "fat gaylord" and "gaylord cocksucker"—in high school. Somehow I don't think gay kids get called "gaylord" as much as they used to. Gaylord will get a formal apology at an event on Sunday. The person who orchestrated this particular apology? A current Wilson High School student.


Comments (5) RSS

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AirBuddy 1
As a gaylord whose name has "gay" in it, I can attest that homophobia in my teen years was... pretty disconcerting. Everyone's got your number! That said, I was extremely luck to have had a teacher like this.
Posted by AirBuddy on July 11, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
rob! 2
That "gaylord" google alert finally paid off, huh?

A sweet story. I ache for all the LGBT people who had done nothing wrong, but whose lives were turned absolutely upside down when acceptance was a tiny fraction of what it is today—those who persevered and lived lives of dignity and accomplishment, as well as those who couldn't manage and slipped below the waves.
Posted by rob! on July 11, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Report this
venomlash 3
@1: As a straight guy whose name has the spoken syllable "Gay" in it, and who also has long hair, I feel your pain. I faced a lot of homophobia in middle school, before I really even knew of The Gay.
Posted by venomlash on July 11, 2014 at 1:49 PM · Report this
Apology? Fuck that. Where's his back pay?
Posted by snortt on July 11, 2014 at 3:28 PM · Report this
mr. herriman 5
my kindergarten teacher was fired for being gay also. i mean i don't know the details or anything but that was the gist. some parents found out and suddenly it was decided he wasn't fit to be around children. pretty sure that is how my liberal heart was sprung. i was heartbroken to lose him, and for what? he was awesome.
Posted by mr. herriman on July 14, 2014 at 4:21 AM · Report this

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