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How To Find Out If Your Teacher Is Gay

February 12, 2007

If you are a boy in year ten then (for reasons quite beyond me) it will be very important to you to find out if your male teachers are homosexual.

The main method used to find out is to repeatedly ask personal questions. Here are the usual questions:

“Are you married?”

“Do you have a girlfriend?”

“Do you have any children?”

“Who do you live with?”

“Does the person you live with have a girlfriend?”

“Is the person you live with gay?”

“What music do you listen to?”

“Do you listen to Elton John?”

“Do you listen to the Village People?”

“What clothes do you wear when you aren’t in school?”

“Have you ever gone to The Village?” [the local gay bar]

This is all fairly standard. But be careful, sometimes students will get so carried away with the investigation that they will accidentally ask something that isn’t very polite, like “Do you have any mates?”.

At a bad school the questions “Do you like girls?”,“Are you gay?” and “Do you take it up the arse?” may also make it into the list. If you are going to ask a question that does go too far it is best to start by saying “Sir, can I ask you a question?” (Ignore the reply, as all sensible teachers will say “No” as any question that needs permission to be asked should never be asked.)

Apart from making very stereotypical assumptions about gay men, this approach is also completely hopeless against the openly gay teacher. At Woodrow Wilson School one of the staff was not just Out but Out To The Kids. He taught a lot of the PSHE modules on Relationships to different classes and would out himself to each class in turn. Very confusing for those students who assumed it must be a secret. It did seem to pay off. Whereas most teachers would at some point experience homophobic abuse, report it and nothing would get done, he would go straight (no pun intended) to his union rep, report it as discrimination and harassment, and the child would be excluded for a day or two.

That said I can understand why most of the gay teachers I’ve known like to remain in the closet to the kids rather than be the subject of gossip. But they do have to be discrete. The other gay teacher I knew of at Woodrow Wilson, despite keeping his sexuality from the kids, thought it would be safe to put his picture on a gay dating site. It was found, read, and within a couple of days every child in the school could quote the blurb from the advert “My name’s Dave, and I like Geography but I’m not just interested in work….”. A few days later they were also quoting several sentences that were not in the original advert, that had been added as the story spread throughout the school. Sentences I couldn’t possibly repeat.

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4 comments

  1. I know this is out of place, but it is a matter of politeness. I’ve mentioned your site and arguments in the comments of the URL linked to above, if you read it, I hope you enjoy it.


  2. A bit off-topic, but I notice the difference you draw between a good school and a bad school. I am presently working in a bad school, and recognise everything you say about “taking it up the arse” comments – we have one openly gay male teacher, who, if he bends over a desk to look at a pupil’s work, draws a host of now rather repetitive comments from the boys in the class. In some schools I’ve taught in the kids would not (no pun intended) stoop so low because they have been brought up to reject behaviour that makes them look like the scum of the earth.

    However it is the difference in treating refugees and asylum-seekers that it reminded me of: when I taught in a top-of-the-league ex-Grammar School, children who arrived there for whatever reason were treated with courtesy, interest and kindness; there was a system of volunteers to help settle foreign kids in.

    At Hell High, they are classified into “those whose countries have recently engaged ours in War” and “the rest”. There have been regular assaults on children from Afghanistan and Iraq as soon as their nationality has been discovered (because hey, Asians all look the same don’t they), whereas kids from Somalia, Congo, Angola etc are left alone. The culprits’ actions are entirely justified in their own eyes; it is after all the training they receive at home.

    Although homophobia is not confined to the Underclass, I imagine a gay teacher at a “good” school will attract far less open rudeness and scorn than one in a “challenging” school.


  3. We had an excellent teacher (much loved by the pupils) who was overtly gay and even commented to one of the boys, “you have the most beautiful eyes”. Indeed, a group of year 11 boys even saw him in a Birmingham gay pub with a young choir boy and teased him about it in a friendly way the day after. He did not lawd his gayness over others, but it was plain for all to see and he did seem to favour the “pretty” boys and make comments about their “prettiness”. But, I do declare that this man was loved by all; staff and students.
    A born teacher who could hold the class mesmorised. I never heard an openly hostile anti-gay comment in all the time I worked at the school from the pupils.Indeed, his sexuality seemed (almost) unimportant in the grand scheme of things.


  4. I recall exactly the same kinds of questions from my time as a pupil at a state comprehensive 1991-6. It may have something to do with the attitude towards homosexuality in the boys’ homes and particularly by their fathers. Their fathers often talk in the presence of the sons of ‘queers’, ‘arse bandits’ etc. In lower income areas there is a huge amount of homophobia that permeates the entire culture.

    Pupils are often harrassed by these questions to, and I remember being aggressively asked if I was gay continually, every day. There was no reason to ask this of me and as it happens I am not gay. But there is an obsession and fear of homosexuality that finds its outlet in aggression.

    As for personal questions, I have heard a lot worse than what you quote as coming from a ‘bad school’.



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