Is Homosexuality still an issue in Academia?

“You could move.”
Abigail Van Buren in her column “Dear Abby,” in response to a reader who complained that a gay couple was moving in across the street and wanted to know what he could do to improve the quality of the neighborhood

Okay, that might sound like a naive question, but seriously, I never understood the deal of the sex a person falls in love with, so bear with me.

A while ago I talked to someone who seemed to be “on the inside” of university administration (in Germany), and she said about a particular professor:

“He has two black marks on his academic CV: A PhD student died in an accident on a field trip he supervised and he outed himself as an homosexual.”

Frankly, I was taken aback. Okay, the person I was talking with “outed” herself as a rather conservative Christian with fixed world views, but seriously, is being a homosexual still an issue in Academia? I mean, losing a PhD student in an accident is a bad thing to live with (how can anyone be at fault for an accident?). I guess the person asks himself whether there was anything he could have done differently. But … seriously, I mean, what has the sex of the person one falls in love with to do with Academic success?

Apparently, the grave sin this person did was to visit a department party with his (male) partner. How can anyone be interested or even bothered by the sex of the partner a person has? Okay, if the person is conflicted about it and vents his/her anger at the students (knew a professor who did this), that’s an issue. But if the person if at ease and is happy with a same-sex partner?

Perhaps I am naive, but I wonder — is this an issue? If so, how?


P.S.: I mean, seriously, I don’t understand this issue. I feel a bit like C.J. in “The West Wing”:

“Is it possible that a father could be embarrassed about his son being gay, even after his son was murdered?”
“Possible to the extent that he’d be disinclined to support a law that would impose stiffer penalties upon the perpetrators of hate crimes, including the ones who tied his 17 year old son to a tree and threw rocks at his head?”
“It eludes me.”
“I know.”
C.J. and Danny in “The West Wing: Take out the Trash Day”

I mean, what the fuck? Is Academia — at least in certain departments at a certain university in Germany — that prejudiced?

P.P.S.: It’s really a well-acted scene, and yup, I don’t understand it either: