NEW YORK — A transgender teacher is suing a New York City Catholic school claiming he was fired after notifying school officials that he was transitioning from male to female.
Mark Krolikowski — who, according to his attorney prefers male pronouns and to be referred to as Mr. K by his students — alleges in a lawsuit filed late last year, that he was wrongfully terminated from his teaching post at the St. Francis Prep in Queens, N.Y., after 32 years and receiving numerous accolades for his work, including leading students in a musical performance for Pope Benedict XVI.
According to court documents, Krolikowski remains anatomically male and routinely wore suits and neckties to school where he taught music, social studies and a class on human sexuality. He also wore earrings and manicured his nails in “a feminine style.”
Krolikowski’s lawyer, Andrew Kimler, told ABC News:
In 2011, Krolikowski was summoned to the office of the principal, Brother Leonard Conway, where he revealed that he was transgender and that he intended to start coming to work dressed as a woman.
According to Krowlikowski’s lawsuit, Conway told the teacher that being transgender was “worse than gay” and that he could no longer appear at public events if he planned to begin appearing as a woman.
“He is extremely upset given the dedication and devotion he showed to the school for 30 years,” Kimler said adding that although his client worked for a private, religious school, Krolikowski was still protected under the city’s and New York state’s anti-discrimination laws.
Kimler would not specify the damages his client is seeking in the lawsuit.
Phil Sempervivo, an attorney for St. Francis Prep, said the school had cause to fire the teacher and he was not relieved due to his gender identity.
“His employment was terminated for appropriate non-discriminatory reasons,” Sempervivo said.