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Gay teacher in China sues school after being fired ‘for going to an LGBT event’

Josh Jackman September 28, 2018
People take part in the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) parade in Hong Kong on November 6, 2015. Hong Kong's streets were coloured by rainbow flags as protesters marched in the city's annual gay pride parade to call for equality and same-sex marriage. AFP PHOTO / ISAAC LAWRENCE (Photo credit should read Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images)

The teacher posted a comment on social media about going to an LGBT+ event (Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty)

A gay kindergarten teacher is suing his school for firing him, in a case which is reportedly the first of its kind in China.

The teacher, who has asked to remain anonymous, claims he was fired from the school in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao after posting a comment on social media about attending an LGBT+ event.

His lawyer Tang Xiangqian says it is the first case in the country of its kind, according to Reuters.

A group poses for photos after taking part in the Pride Run in Shanghai on June 17, 2017. The run was part of Shanghai's ninth annual gay-pride festival. / AFP PHOTO / STR / China OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
China suffers from regular anti-LGBT crackdowns (STR/AFP/Getty)

The teacher said that the school principal told him parents might not want their children to be taught by a gay man.

This made him feel “grave apprehension” because it implied that the parents wanted their children to grow up not respecting people who weren’t straight, he said.

“I hope that I can use this case to push forward Chinese society to be more balanced and accepting,” the teacher said.

His lawyer said that the teacher, who had a 10 percent stake in the school, had been told to leave without receiving sufficient severance or payment.

But, Xiangqian added, this was about more than the individual case — it was about raising the profile of gay people all over China.

“The main reason we filed this case is not just as a labour dispute but to make the gay community more visible to a wider group of people,” he said. “To let more people realise that they can easily be victims of discrimination.”

The LGBT+ community in China has to cope with regular crackdowns, including one which saw the hugely popular social media platform Weibo — which has more than 430 million active users — ban gay content before backing down days later.

A participant prepares for a Pride Run, an event of the ShanghaiPRIDE LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) celebration in Shanghai, June 9, 2018. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
The case is reportedly the first of its kind (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty)

It was also announced last month that Mr Gay World 2019 would no longer be able to take place in Hong Kong, China’s special administrative region.

Earlier this month, some fans were reportedly removed from a Dua Lipa gig by staff after waving rainbow flags.

And Chinese broadcaster Mango TV was reportedly barred from televising the Eurovision Song Contest after censoring two performances during Tuesday’s semi-final, including one which displayed same-sex dancing.

Dua Lipa performs onstage during Billboard and Mastercard present a night with Dua Lipa at Mastercard House on January 27, 2018 in New York City. (Christopher Polk/Getty)
Fans were reportedly removed from a Dua Lipa in China for waving Pride flags (Christopher Polk/Getty)

Ireland took part in the semi-final, where Irish entrant Ryan O’Shaughnessy took to the stage to perform the track “Together,” a moving ballad about a failed relationship.

The entry featured interpretive dancers Kevin O’Dwyer and Alan McGrath re-enacting a same-sex love story, earning praise from viewers.

More: anti lgbt, Asia, Asia, China, China, court, Discrimination, Gay, lawsuit, Qingdao, teacher

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