A former kindergarten teacher is suing the school he worked at after he was fired for being part of the LGBTQ+ community in the first case of its kind in China.
The teacher, whose name was not revealed, was let go from his school in Qingdao, Shandong province in August, according to Reuters.
His termination comes after the school discovered comments he posted on Chinese social media about an LGBTQ+ event he attended.
The principal of the school told the teacher that parents would not want their children to be taught by a gay man. He felt “grave apprehension” that parents would want to raise their children in a society that doesn’t respect people just because of their sexual orientation.
“I hope that I can use this case to push forward Chinese society to be more balanced and accepting,” the teacher said.
He was fired without any sufficient severance or payment for his 10% stake in the school, according to his lawyer, Tang Xiangqian.
Tang and his client are pushing to raise awareness of the discrimination that the LGBTQ+ community face daily.
“The main reason we filed this case is not just as a labor dispute but to make the gay community more visible to a wider group of people. To let more people realize that they can easily be victims of discrimination,” the lawyer said.
They are now seeking a court order for the teacher to be rehired and for the school to pay for all financial losses.
The case, which was accepted by the court last Thursday, marks the first time a gay teacher has filed a lawsuit against a school after being fired over his sexual orientation.
While there are no Chinese labor laws that specifically covers LGBTQ+ issues, Tang said that there are broad provisions that minority groups can use to protect their rights.