Headmaster asks teachers to promise not to have gay sex or show gender non-conforming behavior, even in private
In order to make Christian examples out of its staff both on and off campus, an international school in Hong Kong has asked them to endorse ethical codes that allegedly give it the right to fire or even sue violators.
The International Christian School’s draconian policy against gays and trans peoples is uncovered today (24 Jan) after local newspaper Ming Pao received complaints about the private institute from readers.
Gay Star News understands that LGBTI activists will be protesting outside the school that teaches about 1000 students from kindergarten through to high school with broad-based North American curriculum.
ICS Headmaster John Nelson gave his staff a declaration titled ‘Standards of Biblical Ethics and Integrity’ to sign last year, according to Ming Pao.
In a list of ‘activities and choices that may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of service, and/or legal action,’ there is one bullet point for ‘unethical’ sexualities.
‘Engaging in any form of homosexuality, fornication, transvestitism, bestiality, alternative gender identity, pornographic addiction, or any other sexual behavior that violates biblical purity or the marriage covenant between man and woman,’ it reads.
Gay lawmaker Ray Chan Chi-chuen slams ICS for discriminating against people of different sexual orientations in the name of religion.
He finds it an insult to gays for homosexuality to be listed together with bestiality, and also laments the inability of existing laws to deal with this case.
The Equal Opportunities Commission has been fighting to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, but the government has not even started relevant public consultation.
Trans people are protected – but it is for having the ‘disability’ of gender identity disorder – by the city’s Disability Discrimination Ordinance.
The Education Bureau hasn’t addressed Gay Star News’ question about whether the ethics declaration is permissible, but states that it is in principle against discriminatory policies at schools and will look into the case.
Chong Yiu-kwong, an adjunct professor for law at Shue Yan University, tells Ming Pao it is indeed in the bureau’s power to revoke a mismanaged school’s license.
Chong also says there was once a case in the UK where an expelled gay soldier defeated the Ministry of Defense by arguing it discriminated against his lover’s gender.
Should ICS fire any gay teacher, the teacher may well file gender discrimination litigation in the same way, he notes.
Other local Christian school groups appear to be more accepting of LGBTI staff than ICS, which was founded in 1991 by six missionary agencies and three independent members.
The Catholic Church says its schools do not ask about sexual orientation during job interviews and will not sack anyone for being gay. The Hong Kong Anglican Church also says it stays out of teachers’ ‘personal preferences.’
ICS, which is hiring teachers for Math, Art and English, cannot be immediately reached for comment today.