A pair of Muslim parents have removed their children from a kindergarten preschool because one of the teachers was gay.
When the parents first found out about the gay teacher, they threatened to put together a petition demanding his removal, Tagesspiegel reports. The parents really didn’t want a gay man having physical content with their children or leading them to the bathroom, likely due to the old stereotype that gay men are all sexual predators, according to the teacher in question.
The teacher requested to be transferred to another kindergarten. But eventually, The Local reports, administrators stood up for him. School officials told the parents they could either get used to it or put their children in a different school.
The city’s government released a statement in response to the incident. “We don’t tolerate discrimination. We want to raise the number of male kindergarten teachers so that they become important role models for children,” Social Democratic (SPD) Party senator Sandra Scheeres said, quoted in The Local.
The incident has also sparked a contentious discussion on the complications of tolerance, multiculturalism and immigration in the liberal city of Berlin. Tolerance means accepting people of different cultures, but what happens when certain members of those cultures are more conservative about gender roles and human sexuality?
Many people in and outside of Germany have denounced Islam for its adherents’ often negative stance on homosexuality. It’s worth noting, though, that there are pro-LGBTQ Muslims and that the conservatives who rail against Muslims the loudest are often extremely hostile to the LGBTQ community and women’s rights as well.
It’s also worth noting that Germany isn’t necessarily a pro-LGBTQ paradise, either. The nation still hasn’t legalized same-sex marriage yet. And, die Welt reports, there was a similar event in 2012. In this case, a teacher in Bavaria did not have her contract renewed after her Catholic employers found out she was a lesbian.