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Fired Transgender Catholic School Teacher Branded “Worse Than Gay” Files Suit

mark_krolikowskiMark Krolikowski, a New York Catholic school teacher, filed suit alleging he was wrongfully terminated after 32 years for growing out his hair, manicuring his nails.

Over the course of his tenure at St. Francis Preparatory High School in  Queens, Krolikowski, 59, garnered numerous accolades and even co-directed the school’s chamber orchestra for a performance for Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.

Though he retained his male identity, Krolikowski—known affectionately as M. K.—started pairing his suits and ties with shoulder-length hair, hoop earrings and French manicures about five year ago. His fashion statements were never a problem with students or parents until 2011, when the parent of a ninth grader complained.

Krolikowski told then-Principal Leonard Conway and Assistant Principal Patrick McLaughlin that he was transgender and intended to start coming to work dressed as a woman. According to Krolikowski’s lawsuit, Conway said being transgender was “worse than gay,” and forbid him from attending school events as a woman.

Krolikowski agreed to lose the earrings and nails, and he says he received stellar evaluations during the 2011-12 school year. But his bosses still deemed him insubordinate in June 2012 and demanded his resignation. He was officially terminated in August.

“We’ve been trying to resolve this case out-of-court for months, but they refused,” Krolikowski told the New York Post. “They’ve forced us to file.”

Andrew Kimler, Krolkowski’s lawyer, tells ABC News that although his client worked for a private religious school, he is still protected under city and state anti-discrimination laws. Phil Semprevivo, St. Francis Prep’s lawyer, maintains that the teacher was fired for “appropriate non-discriminatory reasons.”

Krolikowski is seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress and economic loss.

A petition started by current and former students and faculty calls for the school to formally apologize to the beloved teacher:

This is a disgusting display of discrimination and must be acted against and apologized for. While we do not expect Mr. K to return to Prep, we do expect the school to apologize for its behavior and its ultimate decision to expel such a valued member from their staff.

In a school that preaches love, respect, and acceptance, we are appalled to see that their lessons come with hateful fine print.

Sounds like Krolikowski taught his students well.


      She’s certainly brave, I’ll give her that. She’ll never just blend in I think that’s fair to say. Should that matter? Good luck to her.

      (I hate having to admit this but I found it really difficult using the pronoun “She” this time. It’s like my mind is jammed on the disparity between the visual aspect and my intellectual and emotional response. I really want to get over this. god I feel a really shitty person.)

      Jan 8, 2013 at 9:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vklortho

      @PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID: I can understand that. Unfortunately, I think a high level of passability makes it much easier to slide into using the proper pronouns. Then again from the article I’m not entirely sure if she had started presenting female yet(or just as an increasingly feminine guy) or even changed her name or started going by female pronouns. I’m trans and in that weird in between state where everyday feels like the It’s Pat skit from SNL and I don’t even know what pronouns to use for myself most of the time. :P

      Jan 8, 2013 at 11:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

      @vklortho: Awww bless you babe. I could’ve easily taken a beating on that one, you’re probably too kind to me. I am trying to do better i promise. Good luck on your journey. you come across as a lovely person.

      Jan 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 2eo

      @vklortho: No, no you don’t. Anyone with that username is a fan of Ghostbusters and so could never be compared to Pat.

      Jan 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jamal

      Who cares what she looks like, this is ridiculous.

      And they complain about a shortage of teachers?? No sh!t, your firing them for silly stuff.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 6:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dakotahgeo

      Catholic? Bigoted? Shameful behavior(s) towards others? Vicious? Is there a surprise in this story that wasn’t blatantly apparent? Thought so!

      Jan 11, 2013 at 1:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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