A St. Petersburg school teacher was fired in December 2014 for her lesbian social media activity.
The teacher, only identified by her first name, Alevtina, was sacked because her employer said her behaviour was incompatible with her job.
She last week lost a court appeal to be reinstated, but plans to continue to fight the ruling.
A court called upon “experts” to analyze the teacher’s photos on VKontakte, Russia’s version of Facebook, and declared them “extremely unacceptable from a moral point of view.”
Alevtina appealed to the court in January to get her job back plus a compensation of 300,000 rubles, or around $5,600, for emotional distress. Her appeal was rejected last week on the grounds that she had committed “acts of indecency.”
She lost her job in December because of the crusading of Timur Isayev, who has made a career of outing school teachers who post expressions of homosexuality online. He claims their outward homosexuality violates Russia’s law against “gay propaganda.” Isayev said in December he had gotten 29 teachers fired for being gay.
On forwarding the photo to the school, Isaev wrote: “You have an unhealthy, psychologically abnormal lesbian teacher working for you.
This teacher openly reveals on social media that she is an immoral lesbian and that she lives or co-habitates with another unhealthy woman just like herself.We strongly urge you to dismiss her for incompetence in the profession.”
Gay people have faced increasing issues in Russia since President Vladimir Putin in 2013 signed a federal law banning the “promotion of non-tradtional sexual relations”.
The teacher told Meduza she “proudly wiped her tears” after hearing the court rejected her appeal. She might file suit with the European Court of Human Rights, the thorn in Russia’s legal side, she said. But even if she were to prevail in the European court, while she might get some compensation, there is not much precedence to show she would get her job back.
It’s not illegal to be gay in Russia, but the law against gay propaganda that president Vladimir Putin passed in 2013 essentially lets the government crack down on anyone it believes is being too public or flamboyant about their sexual preferences.