Christine Yared

Gay Teacher Book Project

Gay Teacher: A Story about Love, Hate and Lessons Yet to be Learned is the first book to tell the compelling story about Gerry Crane, a gay high school music teacher in Byron Center, Michigan, who was outed by a student, harassed, ostracized by parents and educators and eventually forced to resign. The book also traces the journey of the students who enjoyed their classes with this instructor, who was known as the teacher who built an award winning music department for their school. Students witnessed some of the important adults in their lives change their opinion about their teacher the day they learned he was gay.

The administration undermined Crane’s authority, many parents pulled their children out of his classes and most of his colleagues gave him the silent treatment. The principal announced that a parent can have their child removed from Mr. Crane’s class for any reason.

This book also examines how the larger West Michigan community reacted when it became front page news that Byron Center High School had a gay music teacher. The story received lead coverage throughout the year by the local media and set off a public debate that polarized the West Michigan community. Crane eventually concluded that his only reasonable option was to resign. The publicity, which eventually included national media coverage, made it difficult for him to continue the career that he loved. Six months later at age 32, Gerry Crane died from a stress-related heart attack.

The historical account of Gerry Crane’s experience will be important for people to read as they consider how to move forward. The author is also interviewing some of Crane’s former students, who are now adults, to include their experiences and perspectives.  Other individuals involved in this situation will also be interviewed.

While progress has been made since Crane’s death, many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (“lgbt”) teens still face harassment, discrimination and in some cases violence because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation. In addition, most lgbt K-12 teachers have remained closeted and some of those who are out have faced employment discrimination. The author will also describe the current environment for lgbt teens and teachers, examine the current issues and invite dialogue about the lessons learned by educators, students, parents and local communities.

3 Responses to “Gay Teacher Book Project”

  1. Charlie Comeroon 10 Dec 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Please feel free to call me regarding this. 651-231-2406. I was very close to Gerry and was a student when everything went down.

  2. SANo Gravataron 15 Jun 2010 at 6:13 am

    I would be interested in talking to both of you regarding this matter. Mr Skilling is now the Superintendent of the Oxford School District and has embarked a new mission of “truth” here. My single largest fear is that her will re-create his patented “my way or the highway” philosophy and further destroy this community. Contact me at ismellabigrat@gmail.com

  3. J workmanNo Gravataron 08 Oct 2012 at 12:33 am

    Just wondering if you ever finished this book ?

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