Imagine if you were denied the opportunity to advance in your career just because of who you are? This was the case for Jaz, who was prevented from applying for a permanent teaching position because she is a lesbian1.
Jaz and her wife, Belle, have been together since 1999. They have a solid foundation, but it was shaken when Jaz was discriminated against. Jaz was a full-time temporary teacher at a university. She has a PhD and a long teaching résumé, and she routinely received positive marks from her peers, superiors, and students alike.
Texas and [this university] don’t like homosexuals.
When the university opened a permanent position that was perfect for her, she was told not to apply, despite her qualifications and years of excellent service. Confused and hurt, Jaz asked why she wasn’t allowed to apply for a job that was a permanent version of her current role, a job that would give her stability and the comfort of knowing she could consistently provide for her family. She was ignored. When she asked again why she was being denied the opportunity to even apply for a position she had worked so hard for and performed so well at, she was informed that it was because of her perceived sexual orientation. She was told by a university official, “Texas and [this university] don’t like homosexuals.”
Jaz was careful to never mention her private life in a work setting. She never mentioned her wife or her sexual orientation because she knew that in Texas, state laws don’t protect LGBT2 Americans from discrimination.
Since university jobs are so competitive, this discrimination essentially ended her career. She was unable to use her years of experience at her current university to get a permanent position there, and couldn’t find work at other universities that typically promote from within. Jaz and her wife were already struggling financially, and this set them back in many ways. They ended up losing one of their cars, and Jaz’s mother had to move in with them to help them keep their house.
Texas is one of 31 states in the country that doesn’t protect all its residents from discrimination in housing, employment and public services. LGBT people can be fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, or even denied services like medical treatment.
Texas has passed 5 laws that actively harm LGBT people.Learn more
Can be fired or denied a promotion
Can be evicted from their homes or denied housing
Can be denied service at public establishments, denied medical treatment, or even kicked out of restaurants or businesses
Texas’s total population
Total LGBT population
Of LGBT population raising children