A ‘red-blooded’ Zimbabwe man has posted a video on how to ‘deal with gay people’ after a school teacher controversially came out to his students.
Last week, Neal Hovelmeier, a deputy head of the sixth form at Harare’s St John’s College, told the school at an assembly that he is proudly gay.
He revealed in a letter that he’d done this in order to “curb homophobic behaviour” and to help ensure “a safe learning environment for students who may identity as being gay or bisexual…”
While the school supported Hovelmeier’s action, his coming out was met with outrage by some parents who demanded he resign. It was reported that fists flew at a meeting between parents and school officials on Monday.
In response, Zimbabwean adventure sports enthusiast, Paul Teasdale, created a video to show “how I deal with homosexuals invading my town.”
“There’s been a lot of controversy in Harare because some deputy headmaster or something came out that he’s gay….” says Teasdale in the clip.
He explains that as “a red blooded Zimbabwean man” he has a “very explicit message” to send to his two young sons about “what we do with such individuals.”
Teasdale continues: “I’m going to show you how… best we can set an example to our children, our boys, in this town and in this country…”
He then calls out to another man, whom he describes as a “fruit loop”, and proceeds, somewhat unexpectedly, to give him a long, lingering hug.
Turning to the camera, Teasdale says: “There’s only one way to deal with this – with tolerance, love and compassion. A real man is vulnerable, compassionate and loving. You don’t need to be an asshole!”
The video has been seen more than 46,000 times. In a follow-up video Teasdale admits that he baited viewers by making it seem like he was going to beat someone up. “But I’m not that guy and never will be.” Instead, he urges people to “create a better country and a better world by just loving each other.”
Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution bans same-sex marriage but does otherwise provide protections of civil liberties and human rights, at least in theory. Laws criminalising homosexuality, with penalties of up to three years in jail, remain on the statute books and have yet to be challenged in court as unconstitutional.