From a member of the Poz Connections group I belong to:
"In 2008 I moved to Roswell, New Mexico after being offered a job as a principal of an elementary school. This was where I went to school and my dream job. This move afforded me the opportunity to watch over my elderly parents, reconnect with my own biological children and grandchildren and reconnect with the community.
This was not meant to be. After two month I was suddenly removed from the principal-ship of the elementary school and placed in a high school where I was not even trained for the job, yet expected to perform as those who had been in the job for years. I was belittled, discriminated against, and set-up for failure. Within six months due to the homophobic principal at the high school, I was transferred to a middle school and told I would never be an administrator again. I was also told that I would be teaching classes that dealt with young adults who had never passed a math class in their lives. The program was called Math Navigator. This was a set-up to cause me to fail.
The year was horrible. Again, I was not trained and was expected to perform in an exemplary manner and to "hold to the fidelity of the course." Many of the students were gang members, ESL students with limited English skills and students who were constantly in trouble. They had no respect for themselves, let alone the teacher. This District was hoping that I would fail, at the expense of the children.
The classes did wonderfully and many passed each test that they took. When we went to online testing, and I was the first Navigator teacher in the state of New Mexico to do so, they excelled being in the top 10% of the classes tested in Navigator in New Mexico, yet I was told that I did not know how to teach and my classroom management was horrible.
Even though I was rated Outstanding for 10 years by the Houston Independent School District, here I was rated as a failure. The rating I received by the Roswell Independent School District had nothing to do with my performance, but my HIV status. I was terminated at the end of the school year 2010 after many successful years in Houston.
Now, I will have no insurance, will be forced to pay over 300.00 per month for Cobra or I will not be able to have my prescriptions filled, I have been given neutral recommendations by the District and I am basically trying to figure out how to turn this into a positive learning experience.
In the 21st century, it is extremely sad that rural America still operates within the boundaries of homophobia and extreme fear of those of us who are HIV positive. How can any school district teach acceptance of all no matter what religion, race, color, sexual preference, or nationality, as long as school districts are allowed to discriminate against any type of individual?
Is this really the land of the free or does this only exist for those who "fit into" certain perimeters? Does not the Bill of Rights guarantee protection for all individuals or does this reflect the double standard that has existed in this nation since its' conception? If we do not want to be discriminated against, then we hold the responsibility to rise up and let all America know, "We are not going to take this anymore!" Together we have the strength and CAN move a mountain, yet on the flip-side, many movements have started with one person and have grown into a massive power-force to be dealt with. We must stand up for our rights!"
"Wow, Phillip. I'm so sorry to hear about all that you've endured. I can see how you might struggle to find these events as a "learning experience". I have a question for you: How do you know without a doubt that these events happened because you were discriminated against due to your HIV status? I can't imagine a place of business, let along... a school thinking that they could get away this sort of thing in this day and age. My own employer metaphorically tiptoes around on eggshells due to my HIV status because they're afraid of being sued or perceived as being backwards. In my life, I find I've faced more poz discrimination from the gay community not straight people and that's a bloody shame, isn't it ? That instead of standing up and supporting us, they push us aside because we remind them of something they'd rather not think about but yet many go on their merry way having unsafe sex and not getting tested because they're afraid of becoming one of us. It's a vicious goddamn circle... "
Ya'll be good and forgive this old queen for getting on his poz soapbox today. Sometimes, shit just needs to be talked about, ya know.