Softball coach worked at a religious school for years as an openly gay woman. But she was fired for marrying her true love
An Indiana softball coach who went above and beyond for the kids she worked with was blindsided when she was fired because of her sexuality.
Krystal Brazel worked as a full-time athletic trainer at Lutheran High School in Indianapolis for almost five years before losing her position earlier this year.
She helped coach the school softball team and even proposed to her girlfriend in the batter’s box.
Brazel told the Indy Star that she was openly gay throughout her time working at the school, but didn’t “flaunt” it either.
The head of the Indiana school asked Krystal Brazel to sign a harshly anti-LGBT+ statement.
The coach said she had no marks on her employment record when she was hauled into a meeting with the Lutheran High School athletic director and the head of the school earlier this year.
In that meeting, the head of the school read a section from a school handbook Brazel had never seen before which said that “sexual immorality” is “sinful and offensive to God”.
Furthermore, the handbook said that students, employees and volunteers at the Indiana school must “agree to respect and act according to this statement concerning relationships”.
The head of the school asked her to sign a statement confirming that she would uphold the instructions laid out in the handbook.
“I looked at him like, ‘You know I can’t. And you know that I couldn’t have signed this any other year either,'” she said.
Brazel now suspects that somebody new to the school complained about her sexuality, but she cannot be certain.
Following that meeting, she was removed as coach and was allowed to serve as athletic trainer for another month.
At that point, schools shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Finally, last month, she was told that she would not be returning to Lutheran High School.
She now hopes the school will walk back its decision.
Brazel is technically employed by an organisation called Franciscan Health, and she is now being relocated to another school for the next academic year.
She has since become involved with non-profit Shelly’s Voice, which was set up in 2018 after Shelly Fitzgerald lost her job at Roncalli High School for being gay.
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Shelly’s Voice, along with GLAAD and other organisations, have heavily criticised the school’s decision – but as yet, nothing has been done.
She hopes that school leaders will have a change of heart and allow her to continue serving the community.
“I would not take back a memory that I had for the last five years,” she said.
“It was probably the most memorable and impactful five years of my life. It brought a ton of purpose to my life. And I loved every moment of it.”