Lesbian columnist accuses prestigious Peruvian journalism school administrators of discrimination

A columnist for daily Peru21 outed San Martín de Porres University on Thursday for allegedly seeking to ease her out as a journalism professor because she is a lesbian.

Esther Vargas, Peru21’s City Section editor Vargas, dedicated a full column on Peru21’s Society page to detail how she was asked by two administrators to either resign or consider a desk job writing journalism manuals, to avoid what they described as a brewing scandal over her sexual orientation.

The full-page column, which appeared under the headline, “Excuse me, I’m a lesbian” prompted statements of support for Vargas from an array of journalists, commentators and at least a half dozen lawmakers in Congress. The administrators identified in her column did not immediately respond to Peruvian Times’ request for comment.

Vargas wrote that her superiors called her into an office on Tuesday and told her that several female students had lodged complaints. When she pressed for details about which students and what complaints, the story changed. Parents were concerned about the sexual orientation of their children’s professor. Vargas wrote that she was told anonymous emails had been received, presumably from parents or students, complaining about her openness about her sexual orientation in her two blogs — one a personal Web journal she started writing in 2006, and the other a resource page for journalism students.

Vargas said she also told that anonymous parents and students had commented on her weekly column in Peru21, “Sex or no sex.”

Prior to publication of her denunciation, she wrote, she was called into the office of one of the administrators that the whole incident had been a mistake and was given assurances that the transgression would not occur again.

Asked on Radio Programas radio Thursday why she went ahead and wrote the article anyway, Vargas replied: “Even an attempt at discrimination merits condemnation.”

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