Transgender teacher fired from Catholic school
QUEENS (WABC) -- Meet Marla Krolikowski. She no longer has any reason to hide. For 32 years, Krolikowski lived a dual life, teaching at St. Francis Prep School in Queens as a man, Mark, who professionally dressed in a suit and tie.
"I valued the job so much that I was willing to internalize everything, because the job met so much to me," said Krolikowski.
Krolikowski says she did start to add more feminine touches over the years, but claims no one seemed to mind. There are plenty of yearbook photos of her like that.
"I noticed it was a bit more feminine, but I mean, I didn't think it was anything to write home about," said former student Christina Guarino, "so it didn't matter, no."
Apparently, a parent did care. Krolikowski says in October of 2011 that school officials brought her in and confronted her.
"They said, 'are you a drag performer, are you a female impersonator?'" Krolikowski said, "they gave me all these different things, so finally I said 'I'm transgendered and I identify as a woman. Then everybody's jaw dropped, and then, I said, 'Oh God, what did I do?'"
Krolikowski said that someone told her "it sounds like you're worse than gay", and it took all her strength not to cry.
Krolikowski claims she was told to tone down her appearance, and did, but was fired anyway.
When September came, she was not going back to school for the first time in 32 years.
In a statement denying the allegations, St. Francis said:
"Mr. Krolikowski's employment was terminated for entirely appropriate and professional reasons, and in no way discriminatory."
"All he wanted to do was to be judged by who he is and not what he is, and it's a horror that in this day an age, the school has chosen to judge him by what he is and not who he is," said Krolikowski's attorney, Andrew Kimler.
"My time is running out. I'm 59 years old and I want to live the way I was intended to be," adds Krowlikowski, "which is as a woman."
Krowlikowski has had breast implants, has started hormone treatments, and plans to have more surgery. She says she doesn't want people to look at her as a freak, because she didn't get to do all the things that girls got to do.
Krowikowski says she has been overwhelmed by support from thousands of current and former students who have signed an on-line petition on change.org. She doesn't have long-term plans but does have an immediate goal - to attend Lady Gaga's Born Brave bus tour that is coming to New York later this month.
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