Homophobic teacher suspended

An Indiana school district has suspended Diana Medley a teacher who lobbied for an LGBTQ-free prom. In all fairness, you could always just choose to be straight and then you could go to the prom, since sexual orientation is a decision and choice, according to Medley. “I believe that it was life circumstances and they chose to be that way,” Medley told NBC affiliate, WTWO. “Homosexual students come to me with their problems, and I don’t agree with them, but I care about them. It’s the same thing with my special needs kids, I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason.”  When asked if LGBTQ people have a purpose in life, she responded,  “No I honestly don’t. Sorry, but I don’t. I don’t understand it. A gay person isn’t going to come up and make some change unless it’s to realize that it was a choice and they’re choosing God.” So, God  puts the gays in our lives for a reason, but the gays don’t serve any purpose. That seems like a contradiction but that’s because it’s hard for most of us to grasp the genius that is Diana Medley.

What’s noteworthy is that the school district seemed to suspend Medley for her own safety, not to punish her for her homophobic organizing and speech. Superintendent Mark Baker of the Northeast School Corp. in western Indiana’s Sullivan County issued a statement saying the teacher has been placed on administrative leave out of concern “for the safety and security of everyone in our buildings.” He added that “as a precaution” the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police “have deemed it necessary to station an officer” at North Central Junior-Senior High School. He said the “administration and one school employee in particular” have received “aggressive email messages.” While the statement doesn’t specify who the employee is, as Queerty points out,  “it doesn’t take a homophobic rocket scientist to ascertain that he was referring to special education teacher Diana Medley, who stated that she believes gay people have no purpose in life and compared gay students to special needs kids.”

Lest you think the only response to Medley has been threatening e-mails, it’s important to note that as I write this post, a petition on Change.org calling for Medley’s dismissal has 19,715 signatures, and a Facebook page supporting a prom that includes all students has more than 28,123 likes.


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

Read more about Katie

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/cadedebois/ Cade DeBois

    OMG did she so seriously compare gay people to kids who drool on themselves or need to be fed through a tube or are stupid because of some learning disability!? How dare she!!!

    I didn’t realize recognizing that gay people need a special effort on our part to understand and include them and to be sensitive and adaptive to their needs and experiences, as we would with special needs people (and with anyone ideally), is a homophobic slur. You ableists are some inovative! We “special needs” people just can’t keep up with all the whacky ways you “normal” people come up with to diminish our humanity and dignity!

    • scottishtanningsecrets

      Also, lest we forget, there is overlap between the disability community and the LGBTQ community.

    • http://feministing.com/members/ritafantastic/ Rita Carlin

      I think she was bigoted towards both the LGBTQ community AND special needs children, implying with one slur that it was a bad thing to be either. Gold medal for two-birds-with-one-stone insensitivity goes to Diana Medley!

  • http://feministing.com/members/beokay/ K

    People who have special needs is not a synonym for, ” kids who drool on themselves or need to be fed through a tube or are stupid because of some learning disability!?”
    Progress isn’t going to come from degrading and derogatory insults for another population of people.

    People who have special needs is such a large group of our population that are all SO different. Also some people have feeding tubes, some eat at restaurants you go to..all of them are dignified and human. And should be treated as nothing less.
    Just like people who are LGBTQ.

    Coming from a gay who works with special needs if it matters..
    Also that teacher sucks, glad this story is getting a bit of coverage on a lot of websites vs. just being accepted by students and faculty at the school.

  • http://feministing.com/members/mollie89/ Mollie

    I really appreciate K’s comment. Horrifying article! Scary that she’s an educator.