Gay teacher says Zimbabwe not ready for debate on sexuality

LONDON, Sept 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A gay Zimbabwean teacher who was forced to resign from his job after coming out at school said on Friday he fears the debate could cause a fresh backlash against LGBT+ people in the country.

Neal Hovelmeier hoped to open a discussion about tolerance and acceptance, but said the furious backlash from parents and commenters may have left gay students feeling even more afraid to reveal their sexuality.

"In the immediate aftermath I felt very, very positive ... I felt it could possibly be a defining moment actually for our school system," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Zimbabwe.

"What I'm saddened to realise is that the country is not in a space where they feel this a discussion that can be tolerated yet."

Zimbabwe considers sex between men an "indecent act" punishable with a prison term and gay marriage is banned under the 2013 constitution. Widely held conservative views mean that gay people face great stigma. Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation