Homophobia is a world-wide disease that threatens the lives of people who just want to do their jobs, go home, and live their lives.
On that point, meet Mr. Hoevelmeier, a gay teacher at a prestigious private school in Zimbabwe.
He resigned last week after 15 years of services as a popular instructor:
A teacher at the school for 15 years, Mr Hovelmeier had kept his sexuality a secret until last week when a local newspaper, allegedly acting on a tip-off from one of his colleagues, asked him to confirm whether or not he was gay.
Acting on the advice of its lawyers, the school’s governing body advised Mr Hovelmeier to pre-empt the news story, and he outed himself at a morning assembly.
There was widespread support for “Mr Hov”, a respected and popular teacher known for his good-humoured responses to schoolboy pranks, among the staff and pupils – black and white – at St John’s, a boy’s secondary school in Borrowdale, a prosperous suburb in the capital.
But at an emergency school meeting, some parents stood up to denounce the teacher, with one being heard to shout: “We are afraid that our children will be recruited into homosexuality.”
The session degenerated into near-chaos after a section of black parents allegedly attempted to strike a white pupil in the Sixth Form who had appealed for calm.
The row highlights a racial divide over how homosexuality is viewed in Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe, whose son attended St. John’s, disparaged gay people when he was president as “worse than pigs and dogs”, claiming that homosexuality was a “pollution” visited on the world by “the gay United gay Kingdom”.
The fact that this happened in Zimbabwe may give you comfort as cultural chauvinism has you thinking of blatant heterosexism as believable in 2018 as an African (or not-American) issue.
“Those people over there”….and all that.
In that case, meet Mr. Hill, an art teacher in Kansas who – like Mr. Hoevelmeier – felt it necessary to resign his position after receiving death threat (one that read “queers will burn”).