A Perth Catholic school teacher was forced to quit his job after he was outed by his students as gay via a viral TikTok game of ‘Guess Who’.
The drama and history teacher spoke to The West Australian, telling the news outlet that he had been victim to a TikTok trend which involved viewers taking part in a “Guess Who” game.
The trend included students posting picture clues, derogatory quotes, and details of a person while other TikTok users attempted to identify the teacher or classmate based on the clues provided.
The TikTok video featured the school’s crest with clues which included the teacher’s school house group, “images of theatre comedy, a tragedy mask and a muscled male torso alongside a pride flag”.
Catholic School Had Policy Against Out Gay Teachers
The teacher had taught at the school for six years and acknowledged the school’s policy against LGBTQI identifying teachers, which banned them from “coming out publicly as homosexual.”
Under these conditions of employment in which teachers were to follow “a manner of life”, he knew that he wasn’t able to be openly gay at work. “Being gay and working in a Catholic school, the scriptures and the Church believe homosexuality is wrong and teachers may be dismissed from their role [on] religious grounds,” the teacher told the news outlet.
He declared that this post clearly identified him and he was disappointed by the lack of support from the Catholic school system. The teacher emphasised the need for schools to do more in protecting teachers from being harassed online by their students. “The onus is on the Catholic system to back their teachers and to protect them and to believe them when these incidents are happening,” he said.
“More often than not, these kids will get a slap on the wrist, they might get a suspension. But do they really understand the effects that these incidents have on teachers and staff and education assistants?”
Protect LGBTQI Teachers, Says Advocacy Group
A report by Perth Now in June investigated how the ‘Guess Who’ trend had circulated in schools around the state. The report found that there had been multiple complaints reported to the eSafety Commissioner throughout the year.
Advocacy group Just Equal responded to this by calling on the McGowan Government to change the law and stop discrimination against LGBTQI teachers in religious schools.
WA spokesperson Brian Grieg said religious exemptions in WA’s discrimination law allow discrimination against religious schoolteachers. He alleged that these laws were the “worst of their kind in the country” and that the “threat of the Morrison Government’s federal Religious Discrimination Bill” had been subsumed for now.
“The new Albanese Labor Government has promised it will protect gay students and teachers. We call on Premier McGowan to fulfil his pledge to end this discrimination,” Greig said.
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