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Should homosexuals be allowed to teach?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on June 27, 2007

At first glance, the answer to the question above is obvious. A teacher’s sexuality belongs to a private realm, and has no bearing on his ability to teach. There have been no known instances, for example, where one’s sexual orientation has impaired one’s ability to prepare lessons or manage a classroom.

Yet, imagine a straw poll conducted by a newspaper, with the same question directed at what the local press likes to term the ‘man-in-the-street’. Imagine if the question is raised after prominent media coverage of a male teacher who has been accused of molesting his male students. Imagine also, the leading phraseology: the question reads ‘Should a gay teacher be allowed to teach in schools?’ instead of, say, ‘Should our schools discriminate against a teacher who happens to be gay?’

Would it be surprising to find a majority replying in the negative? Apart from the imperfections of the survey methodology itself (skewed sample, small sample size), one of the main problems in addressing the issue is semantics. What exactly do we mean by a ‘gay teacher’? Or rather, what do people think of when they hear that phrase?

Moral panic

The issue here is one of moral panic. There are certain obstinate stereotypes that will obviously colour one’s interpretation of the term. What are some of the fears associated with the presence of gay teachers in schools?

Firstly, there is the issue of predation. Teachers are authority figures, and positions of authority can sometimes be abused. In some of the more high-profile cases mentioned in the press, one involved a water-polo adviser, while another was a school counselor. The former offered physiotherapeutic massages, which gradually bordered on molest, while the latter took advantage of counseling sessions to do much more than verbal counseling.

Secondly, teachers are figures of influence. And here we find ourselves colliding head-on with those who believe that homosexuality is a matter of choice. The concern is that an openly gay teacher might be able to convert his students to ‘a homosexual lifestyle’.

By either refraining from condemning homosexuality (‘there is nothing wrong with being gay’), or even advocating it (‘being gay means being special’), they might be able to direct the process of sexual identity-formation among impressionable youths.

Sexual predation not exclusive to gay teachers

Undeniably, the kinds of paranoia I have listed quite often stem from a position of ignorance at best, and hypocrisy at worst. Sexual predation is not exclusive to gay teachers; there are many pedophiles who happen to be straight. If it is a very real concern, then there should be a policy where straight male teachers are banned from all-girls’ schools.

As for the idea that gay teachers will spend their time in the classroom evangelizing and recruiting students, it is flawed on two counts: unlike religious zealots, gay teachers (or even generally gay people, for that matter) rarely possess the fervour to prescribe their lifestyles to others.

Also, no matter how malleable the adolescent mind, it is quite impossible to condition one’s sexual orientation.

If sexual desire is really the product of imitative behaviour, then how do homosexuals emerge from societies which constantly valorize the heterosexual ideal?


15 Responses to “Should homosexuals be allowed to teach?”

  1. […] of Section 377A, whether homosexuality is scientific, whether its immoral, whether homosexuals are being systematically discriminated in the civil service, etc. Much has been said about this issue and it has gotten very very acrimonious at times; with  […]

  2. Chew said

    Now, if the assumption is that having gay teachers increases the likelihood of students being molested, then wouldn’t the same argument apply to heterosexual teachers as well? In fact, based on this assumption and given the fact that the number of heterosexual teachers highly outnumbered gay teachers at any one time, the possibility of a student being molested by a heterosexual teacher is much higher.

    I say, Singapore can now officially add ‘discrimination hub’ to its list of hubs.

  3. When the trainees or teachers show sign of homosexual behavior, they should be removed.
    Teachers are sample for the students to emulate. If they show their bad behavior in class, it might give wrong signal to students. They might have the impression homosexual behavior is normal.
    Putting a stop to them will tell students homosexual behavior is not normal.
    For other normal teachers, if they show abnormal behavior like staring at certain girls in a particular way, they should be reported and send for medical examination whether they have gone too much into pervertivity. For female teachers, if they are too close to female students or teachers, they too should be send for examination.
    The principals of schools should look out for misbehavior in ther teachers in public and classroom.

  4. Chew said

    Kew Kah Fatt,

    So who gets to determine what is normal and what should be removed? Should your comment that carries such discriminatory views and attempting to impose such views on other be considered abnormal and thus be removed?

    My point is everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and very often, these beliefs depends on which side of the fence you are on. Why not try sitting on the fence itself and respect everyone on both side so that we can all live in harmony?

  5. Chew,

    That’s onesided argument talking from KKF.

  6. Would like to Fatt. said

    Kew Kah Fatt,

    A dictator or people of dictatorial inclination is abnormal and therefore should be removed from this multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingua and democratic and just society.

    Who are you to tell someone else that he/she should do this and should do that, based upon your own perceptions and judgement?

  7. loupgarou said

    I know quite a few gay teachers, this is singapore’s version of don’t ask don’t tell.

    despite what GCT has said about gays in the civil service.

    gay people like hetrosexual people comes in all types, should I insist just because a few hetrosexual teachers have paedophillic tendencies that no hetrosexual teacher should be allowed to teach?

  8. Roy said

    Of course they should be allowed to teach. I’ve had a few flamboyant teachers before whom everyone suspected to be gay. They are as competent as any other teacher and are in fact more fun in the classroom.

  9. Chew,

    Everyone has the right to choose their own life and religion. But when it comes to teaching profession, the MOE is the master. They can set the rules.

    Who are you to tell me what to do ?

    I just post my view. I am not in MOE to set rules. They can adopt my view or reject my view, it is up to them.

  10. My other piece yesterday in reply to ‘would like to fatt’ was deleted. Why ?

    Do I use vulgarity or threatening words ?

    My words were about the same meaning as my reply to ‘chew’.

    He/she used funny nickname. Why it was not deleted ?

  11. Hi Kew,

    Your comments were not allowed to be posted as it didn’t have anything to do with the article or the issues at hand.

    It was personal and hence, I feel it is not appropriate.


  12. Andrew,

    I just hope you can censor people who use nick names to say bad things on others. To you, you might not feel offended. My name has a Fatt, so he was insulting me.

  13. Rebecca said

    I have 2 pre-school daughters, if we have a choice from the schools/MOE not to have our daugthers educated by any gay teachers then it’s ok to have gays as teachers. Teachers are educators, they educate pure young minds. Being gay is not only about someone’s choice of sexual preference but the distorted state of the mind. Did you ever wonder why God should create man & woman instead of man-only or woman-only if we are to be attracted to the same sex? Remember the phrase “opposite attracts”.

  14. Daniel Ho said

    What is this God you speak of, Rebecca?

  15. familyman said

    I am in the pro Repeal camp. However, I am also a father of 3 and a ‘conservative’ in certain areas. Unfortunately, I cannot but feel what Rebecca feels – it is irrational, mean and uncaring kind of thoughts – and I am guilty of it at times. Eg In Sunday Times there was an article about a Leonard becoming a Leona. If she was a teacher in a playschool, or a secondary school, would our public feel comfortable about such an ‘outing’? In my mind, I am proud that Leona has shown transvetites a way forward, to help the small minority of people in such situations, but I really doubt if our society is ready for such openess – and yes, we must continue with the work to open the minds of people, cos I still believe in the pledge, regardless of race, language and religion and sexuality.

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