COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Jimmie Beall says she was fired from her job as a teacher in a rural Ohio school district in 2003 because of “questions about her sexual orientation.”
Now, Beall’s story is being featured as part of a national ad campaign to raise awareness about discrimination against the LGBT community.
“I thought if I can keep one other person from having to go through this, I’ll stand in the gap, I’ll be the buffer,” Beall said.
Beall and her partner Mindy Ross took center stage three years ago when they were first in line to apply for a marriage license at Franklin County Probate Court after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled gay couples have a constitutional right to marry.
“We’ve been coming every Valentine’s Day every year getting turned down but not today,” Beall told NBC 4 at the time.
Beall knows first hand about discrimination. In 2003, she says, she was told she was going to be fired despite years of stellar reviews as a government teacher.
“I was just shocked,” Beall says. “So when the school board met, sure enough, the superintendent had sent a memo to them saying there were questions about my sexual orientation and so to get rid of me and that’s what they did.”
Even though gays can legally marry, they still do not have universal protections against discrimination.
“It seems inconceivable in 2018 we could still be fired,” Beall says. “I mean we have marriage equality. We are able to get married legally and in celebrating our marriage we could be fired”
The new ad campaign, called “Beyond I Do,” aims to raise awareness about the prevalence of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the United States and to confront the widespread misconception they have basic protections.
The public service campaign is sponsored by the Ad Council and the Gill Foundation. The campaign highlights many stories of Americans who have faced discrimination across the country.
“Everyone should have the ability to live in safety, support their families, and go about their daily lives without the fear of being turned away because they’re gay or transgender,” said Lisa Sherman, Ad Council President and CEO.
“By sharing powerful and poignant stories, this campaign highlights the values we hold so dear as Americans and provides a real opportunity to grow awareness and empathy.”
More information is available at www.BeyondIDo.org.