A teacher in the southern African nation of Swaziland has faced anger and bigotry from parents of her students, following allegations that she was lesbian.
According to The Times of Swaziland, the unnamed individual caused an outrage in the Shiselweni Region when the teacher apparently decided to change her “gender appearance.”
“The female teacher started dressing like a man and wanting to be addressed as Mr and not Miss,” reported The Times of Swaziland.
Despite the reports, which specifically refer to the teacher’s sexual orientation, it is currently unclear if the individual at the centre of the controversy actually identifies as transgender or as a lesbian.
The school’s pupils are said to have accepted the teacher’s identity and appearance but “the community is having none of it and wants her removed,” said the Times.
With parents apparently being concerned that a member of the LGBTI community “affecting their children” by being a teacher, demands have been made that the teacher is transferred from the school.
Speaking with Mambaonline, Melusi Simelane who is the Communications Manager for LGBTI group The Rock of Hope, said that the organisation came across the story in the media but is yet to make contact with the teacher.
“This is obviously stigmatisation based on assumed sexual orientation,” he said.
“We frown on this and call for the government to hasten the implementation of protection from discrimination for all persons.”
Swaziland is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa and has a population of around 1.3 million people. The country remains is one of the world’s last absolute monarchies.