This little furore, where a teacher was suspended and reinstated after being found out as a part-time stripper, reminded me of the importance of pseudonyms. The thrust of his defence is correct (apart from the facebook part—teachers shouldn’t really friend pupils for good, professional reasons), but even in The Guardian, a paper so wet it would make your fish’n’chips soggy if you wrapped them in it, there were plenty of comments along the lines of, “I wouldn’t want you teaching my child.” Presumably these would be the same people who, a decade or so ago, were totally against openly homosexual teachers working in the classroom for fear they might “infect” their cherished offspring.
The other type of comment—“Well, he’s a male stripper, that’s not as bad as…”—completely misses the point. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times again: What consenting adults get up to in their own time is their own bloody business. Would it matter if a teacher, a good teacher, worked—legally—as an escort after hours, or liked to frequent fetish clubs and have their arse paddled red? Should it? Obviously, it would be a problem if that teacher abused their position to tout for business amongst pupils/parents, or turned up too tired to do their job properly, but most people can and do successfully partition their public and private lives. Sadly, a lot of people are too judgmental, resulting in this kind of silliness.
I’m not ashamed of what I write about, but I’m realistic. I don’t and probably won’t ever be able to make full-time living from my writing. I don’t want to find myself blacklisted from future employment prospects because a recruiter googled my name and found out I wrote some bizarre, creepy porn stories a decade ago.
While future employment prospects are a concern for me, it pales into insignificance when compared to people in other parts of the world, where they face imprisonment—or even death—for having incompatible views, beliefs or sexual orientation.
So to facebook, google+ and the rest—first guarantee me a world where I won’t be killed, imprisoned, ostracised, or have my current and future livelihood damaged for what I write/post, and then I might give you my real name.