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Watch: Fired Gay Volleyball Coach Proves Need for Equality Act

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday September 19, 2021

Inoke Tonga on 'The Ellen Show.'
Inoke Tonga on 'The Ellen Show.'  (Source:TheEllenShow/YouTube)

After being fired from Valor High School in Denver, Colorado, because of his sexuality, Inoke Tonga recently appeared on Ellen to discuss the ordeal.

The whole experience made Tonga afraid to speak up, he explained.

"But I've also told my kids to advocate for yourself and advocate for other people when they can't," Tonga told Ellen. "And it hit me, "What sort of message are you sending if you don't speak up."

Tonga reportedly was preparing to start the volleyball season at Valor when school staff asked him to delete any pro-LGBTQ comments he had posted to Facebook. During a conversation with the school's campus pastor and athletic director, Tonga was told that his openness about his sexuality "was a danger to be in front of the kids."

Tonga, who identifies as gay, refused to delete the evidence of his support and was fired.

Since then, his story has been making the rounds of national news and sparking further discussion of the fate of The Equality Act.

"Inoke Tonga's story highlights the lack of legal protections LGBTQ people continue to face, and now millions of Americans can hear one example of anti-LGBTQ employment discrimination, thanks to Ellen's platform," said Ross Murray, GLAAD's Senior Director, GLAAD Media Institute. "It's imperative that Americans learn from Inoke's story and act to ensure that LGBTQ people don't face discrimination at work, at home, in places of business, or anywhere."

See Tonga tear up while sharing his story with Ellen below.