Chilean teacher sacked for being a lesbian begins legal action

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A lawsuit has been filed against the Chilean state and justice system by a religion teacher who lost her job because she is a lesbian.

Sandra Cecilia Pavez Pavez filed the lawsuit in the Inter-American Human Rights Court on January 8th, over a year after she lost her teaching post.

She appeared last week with her lawyer, Alfredo Morgado and the President of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (MOVILH).

Rolando Jimenez, President of MOVILH said:

“Once again, people who have a different sexual orientation are systematically denied justice.

“Sandra’s case demonstrates how sexual minorities do not have rights in the eyes of this country’s judicial system, and the only option left is to seek international assistance.”

Ms Pavez had taught at a public school in San Bernardo for 23 years.

She lost her position in 2007 after admitting to church authorities she was a lesbian, resulting in her teaching certificate being taken away.

Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz, head of San Bernardo Diocese, also urged Ms Pavez to seek psychological help.

She has twice previously attempted to file lawsuits, one before a local court and another before Chile’s Supreme Court but both attempts were unsuccessful.

Ms Pavez said:

“If there is no guarantee of my rights as a citizen in this country then what kind of citizen am I? A third or second class citizen? Maybe I don’t even have a category in my country.”

MOVILH have claimed there is discrimination against minority people in Chile, who make up 10% of the country’s population.