A nursery has kicked out a number of parents after they protested the hiring of a gay teacher.
The unnamed nursery in the Reinickendorf borough of Berlin hired a male teacher earlier this month.
According to German TV channel RTL, all but one child in the nursery come from Muslim families.
During a conversations, the man casually mentioned he’s gay, but his future employer didn’t see it as a problem.
Neither do the kids, who according to newspaper Der Tagesspiegel love their new teacher – to the point where they have arguments about who’s allowed to hold his hand while walking.
But the children’s parents did, and they staged a protest even before the new teacher started work.
They learned of the news during a parents’ evening, when the nursery administrator announced they had employed a man.
That in itself was already a problem.
‘We don’t want a man accompanying our kids to the toilet,’ some of them said.
But when they learned he was gay, their reaction was even worse.
Some said they would not send their kids to nursery as long as a gay man was working with them; they also wanted to petition against his employment.
‘For some of them a homosexual is automatically a pedophile,’ the anonymous teacher told the Tagesspiegel.
Some of the families are originally from Russia, others from Romania, Turkey or other Arab countries.
‘They come from a different world,’ the nursery’s managing director said.
‘But we’re in Berlin, in the 21st century century, we can’t have something like this.’
This is not a Muslim-only problem.
But the parents’ protest had a very different result than what they hoped for.
Instead of firing her new employee, the managing director kicked out the offended parents. Their children now have to visit another nursery.
Politicians also extended their support, with the Berlin Senate saying they ‘do not accept discrimination’.
‘We want to increase the number of male teachers in nurseries, because they are imortant role models for the children,’ said the Senator for Family Matters, Sandra Scheeres.
And despite the protests, parents are on the new teacher’s side, too.
‘Many parents were shocked when they heard of the protests,’ he said.
‘They have my back, and so do the teachers.’
Still, he feels pressured, because parents are watching whether he’s touching their kids in the right way.
Although that, he told the Tagesspiegel, is more because he’s a man and not because he is gay.
In the 2015 Queer Germany survey one in five people said they opposed the idea of a gay man caring for small children.
For lesbians, it was one in seven.