Muslim parents in Berlin have furiously protested against a kindergarten after learning that one of its staff members is a homosexual man, with a number of families withdrawing their children when the daycare centre refused to sack him.
“They went on the warpath,” said the managing director of the Reinickendorf kindergarten, detailing how parents organised to collect signatures against its employment of the man — who Der Tagesspiegel calls Christian Berger — demanding that he be fired.
Noting that all but one child who attended the daycare centre comes from a Muslim family, she said the parents “come from another world”, explaining that they see gay men as a danger.
“We are living in 21st century Berlin,” said the manager, who runs four kindergartens in the German capital. She stressed there was no way she was going to sack a member of staff because of his sexuality.
Berger told the German newspaper that many of the parents come from the Middle East and Turkey, stating: “For some of them, they think homosexuals are automatically child molesters.
“As a gay man, one walks a fine line,” he said, adding that parents are “afraid” of his sexuality.
“You touch the children, you dress them, you see them naked,” Berger told Der Tagesspiegel, which underlined that this is “the normal job of an educator”.
The kindergarten’s manager, who didn’t wish to be named, told the newspaper that before meeting the gay teacher, parents were already unhappy about the prospect of their young children being looked after by a man.
“Some of the parents were shocked” when it was announced at a parents’ evening that their children were going to have a male tutor, she said.
“We don’t want a man to be helping our children get dressed and taking them to the toilet,” the manager recounted parents saying. Upon discovering the new teacher’s sexuality, they presented the kindergarten with a petition asking that he be fired.
At a subsequent parent’s evening, to which Berger was not invited, a number of families warned they would remove their children from the centre’s care if it continued to employ the gay staff member.
The managing director said parents who had the strongest objections have now withdrawn their children from the kindergarten, but Berger told the newspaper he still feels under undue suspicion in his job.
“Parents are constantly looking at me,” he disclosed with some annoyance, according to Der Tagesspiegel. “We are constantly monitored, which makes it difficult to care for the children in an ordinary fashion.
“Our role as kindergarten teachers is to help children develop in a healthy and normal way,” said Berger.
The tutor added that it’s homophobic people ‘who are actually in need of help’, recalling how, on the subway recently, he heard a conversation between two men in which one said he would “find it disgusting” if his child had a gay teacher.