A gay Catholic school teacher, who was fired for being pregnant, has urged people to, “stand up for those without a voice.”
As previously reported, Barb Webb was a beloved chemistry teacher at Marian High, an all-girls Catholic school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. That is, until she told the principal that she was expecting a child with her female spouse. Barb was fired, and her case has sparked national outrage.
Popdust sat down with her for a one-on-one.
Popdust: So what were you expecting when you first went to the office to tell the Principal you were pregnant?
Barb Webb: I didn’t know what to expect when I first met with Sr. Lenore, but during the meeting she was very positive. She seemed almost happy for me and I definitely felt that I not only still had a job, but that I would get all the standard maternity leave benefits as well. It was kind of a bait and switch. She was either a great actress or someone got to her and changed her mind after the meeting. When I left the meeting, I felt great.
Popdust: So then what happened?
Barb Webb: Two weeks later she called me in for another meeting and told me my only options were to resign or be terminated.
Popdust: Prior to this had you ever seen homophobia at the school?
Barb Webb: There are plenty of gay teachers on the staff. That’s not the problem. The problem is being gay in a public capacity because then it violates the “morality clause.” The higher ups have said they knowingly hired a gay teacher.
Popdust: Obviously this has been a massive trauma, but ultimately, has this been a good thing for you?
Barb Webb: Seeing everyone’s support has been a huge positive. I’ve gotten amazing private messages from people who tell me my story gave me courage to come out to my family. That has been a huge honor.
Popdust: You must be stunned that you’re a national news story?
Barb Webb: It’s surreal to see yourself to TV and all of a sudden to be able to Google myself and have all this stuff come up, but I’m not really in this for fame.
Popdust: But can’t you so see your story on Lifetime Television for Women?
Barb Webb: Ha. Yeah, I can see that!
Popdust: Obviously, there’s been a huge outpouring of support, what about a huge outpouring of opposition?
Barb Webb: The vast majority has been very supportive. But I try not to read comments online. I stumbled across a few, “She should be stoned to death,” comments and I was like, “No thanks.”
Popdust: What do your parents say?
Barb Webb: They are so supportive. I came out at 15, so it’s been 18 years. My mom has progressed from being uneasy with it to being one of my biggest champions. She’s Catholic, I’m Catholic, and the church doesn’t recognize homosexuality.
Popdust: I’m surprised you’re still Catholic.
Barb Webb: Sometimes I am too.
Popdust: How have the students reacted?
Barb Webb: It’s 99.999% in support, but I’ve gotten a few letters from kids who are hung up on the legal aspect and they would say “But you signed a contract!” The parents have been organizing parties for students to get together and make rainbow bracelets to show their solidarity. It’s been amazing.
Popdust: So what about future jobs?
Barb Webb:: I’ve been Substituting in chemistry at a school through the fall and when I first got there, the headmaster called me into the office and I thought, “Great I’m in trouble again.” And she just said, “I want to welcome you and let you know we don’t practice discrimination here.” I was so happy. She is so great.
Popdust: What do want people to know?
Barb Webb: I didn’t want people to think I walked away for no reason, I wanted them to know the truth, but my intention was never to say “Stand up for me. “ It was and has always been to say, “Hey, stand up for whoever needs help. Those who don’t have a voice, anyone who is being bullied or subjugated. Be their voice. That’s how things change.
You can lend your support via the Facebook page “I stand with Barb Webb”