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Wendy Weaver, teacher, Utah
Wendy Weaver was pensive when we spoke with her on May 22, 2000, in Salem, Utah. That morning, her high school had held its annual awards assembly during which awards and trophies were handed out to individuals and teams for extracurricular activities. As a coach, she was used to being involved in the assembly, cheering the accomplishments of her players. Since 1982 she had lead the girls' volleyball team to four state championships and numerous winning seasons. But this year, in the wake of the school district's refusal to allow her to continue to coach because of her sexual orientation, Wendy Weaver was a spectator.

"I was well known and liked at school-both as a teacher and a coach. I didn't think it would make a difference when [my partner] and I bought a house and moved in together. Then during the summer vacation, this student called me at home. She asked me if I was gay. I knew that people knew-my ex-husband had told people in our community-I just said, `Yes.'

"Then I got a call from the principal saying we need to talk. The school district issued a memo-really a gag order-saying I could not speak to anyone associated with the school district about my personal life. At first I didn't know what to do. But the more I thought about it the more I realized it was crazy, it was impossible to comply with. I couldn't even talk to [my partner] because our children attend school in the district. I even asked them to modify the order so that it was less broad, but they refused. They also told me I wouldn't be coaching again.

"At first I didn't know what to do. I spoke with lots of lawyers about employment discrimination but they said they couldn't help me because there is no protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Finally we met with the ACLU of Utah and they agreed to take the case.

"It's been hard. All the publicity. The charges of immorality. We were worried about the impact of going public on our kids. But I got a lot of quiet support-people saying, `I don't agree with your lifestyle but . . . .'

"It was important for me to fight this. The students don't understand their rights-they are so traumatized that they never even think of organizing. Maybe this has helped some of them."

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Dylan N., Nevada
Matt P., New Hampshire
Erin B., Georgia
Anika P., Texas
Dahlia P., Texas
Eric C., California
Wendy Weaver, Teacher, Utah
Nikki L., California
Alix M., Midwestern United States