Site Archive‎ > ‎LGBTI Rights‎ > ‎Moscow‎ > ‎

School teacher sacked for taking part in gay rights demonstration

28 January 2013 

Source: (info)
The scientist and journalist Ilya Kolmanovsky has been fired from Moscow's School-2 State Lyceum, where he taught biology, for taking part in a demonstration against an anti-gay law. As Kolmanovsky writes on the Radio Svoboda website, the school's Director, Vladimir Ovchinnikov, informed him of his dismissal on Monday, "in order to save the school". Kolmanovsky had worked in the school for 7 years. [Read more]

The people who made the accusation that reached the school's management alleged that Kolmanovsky was openly gay, and they asked that the children be protected from him. 

On 25 January, the day that the law on penalties for "promoting homosexuality" was passed, Kolmanovsky took part in a 'Day of Kisses' demonstration. He approached the State Duma together with LGBT activists and several other equal rights campaigners. The activists and journalists were attacked by confrontational anti-gay people. LGBT activists were detained, along with their lawyers. “I had a public confrontation with them (the homophobic people – ed.); they didn't beat me, they just threw an egg," Kolmanovsky says, describing his role in the demonstration. He was chanting "Fascism will not be tolerated" and "Moscow is not Iran." 

"I know that I had to speak out in defence of the rights of these minorities and against conservatism, against hatred, and against all things that divide the nation," writes Kolmanovsky. "I must also do it as I am not gay. Sorry for being emotional. We need to give our support to these people because it will be our turn later." 

Kolmanovsky is well known as a journalist and writer. He is the host of the The Pocket Scientist podcast, the author of numerous popular science publications and leads theatrical and interactive guided tours for children. In 1996 he and his friends founded the Centre for the Adaptation and Training of Child Refugees as part of the Civic Assistance Committee, and within 7 years had become a co-director of the Centre. 

Ilya Kolmanovsky:
"I feel ashamed before the students: I have put our association at risk. Kids, I'm really sorry and I want to apologise to you for this. I have really enjoyed our meetings – you impressed me every time with your ability to make progress during lessons. We didn't have time to finish genetics, and there is still the theory of evolution and ecology left to cover. 

I will always be happy to answer your questions or to help in any way I can – you have my email address. I hope that you will do everything you can to make it easy for my successor to work with you – this would be the most mature and right thing for you to do. 

I feel bad for the head teacher and our relationship. He knows better – his superiors are truly unpredictable and dangerous; the school really is hanging by a thread financially (because of the new Education Act). 

I could not have acted otherwise. There are situations when you can no longer keep quiet; "when they have done away with the Jews and they Communists they will come for you, and there will no longer be anyone there to protect you". I feel that I had to speak in defence of the rights of these minorities and against conservatism, against hatred, and against national divisions of all kinds. I must do it because I am not gay. 

Sorry for being emotional. We need to put a stop to these people because it will be our turn later. The time has come when silence is even more dangerous than talking. We must all speak up in one voice so that fear and hatred will collapse like a house of cards, and we will go back to school.