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In the EHL system the students are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. There are the ones who are open to their sexuality and the ones who deny them. These are their stories. by Queeney Hernandez

Do  you  feel  completely  comfortable  with  your  sexuality  in  school?    Most  of  the  time,  yes,  but  not  always.    Yea  I  am  but  sometimes  people  are  really  mean.    They  make  fun  of  you,  but  they’re  not  that   funny.  It’s  annoying.    No,  I  think  homosexuality  overall  is  accepted  in  school  but  the  students  don’t  want  to  know   about  it.  It  is  OK  if  you’re  gay,  but  you  should  keep  it  to  yourself.    If  you  have  been  homosexual  for  a  long  time  then  you  feel  completely  comfortable  no  matter   where  you  are.      I  don’t  expose  it.  I  prefer  not  to.     Is  it  easier  to  be  gay  in  school  than  in  the  outside  world?    Yes,  if  you  were  honest  from  the  beginning,  people  wouldn’t  care  as  much.    No.  I  am  not  ashamed  of  who  I  am  but  I  don’t  want  to  be  an  outcast  either,  or  have  someone   point  at  me  because  I  am  ‘different’.     Have  you  ever  experienced  any  type  of  discrimination  at  EHL  because  of  your  sexuality?    Let  me  think…  never!    Not  really,  but  there  have  been  rumours.    Not  me  personally,  but  I  often  hear  others  make  fun  of  those  students  and  mock  them.      I  haven’t  experienced  any  but  sometimes  people  do  offer  you  a  weird  look.    They  just  like  to  joke  around  but  when  it’s  not  from  people  you  know,  it’s  not  very  nice.    When  I  told  people,  they  laughed.  And  not  in  a  good  way.     What  do  you  think  the  general  view  is  of  homosexuality  in  EHL?      Some  people  are  interested  and  ask  me  a  lot  of  questions.    The  general  view  in  EHL  is  actually  quite  open.    I  feel  that  it’s  taboo.  Students  at  EHL  are  mostly  followers  of  a  trend  and  this  doesn’t  conform  to   it.    Most  people  wouldn’t  want  it.  For  them,  EHL  is  a  perfect  place  and  homosexuality  might  taint   that  image.    People  in  EHL  learn  to  be  more  politically  correct.  Not  more  friendly,  just  more  conscious  of  not   being  an  ass  about  it.       How  different  do  you  think  this  view  is  with  the  world  today?    EHL  is  quite  international  so  I  think  EHL’s  view  represents  the  current  global  situation.  


 The view  in  the  world  is  due  to  media.  It  distorts  the  image  of  who  we  actually  are,  and  also   what  we  really  do.    I  think  EHL’s  view  may  be  a  little  bit  better.      It  depends  on  where  you  go.     Do  you  feel  that  the  students  at  EHL  are  open  and  understanding  of  homosexuality?    Yes,  most  of  them  are!    I  feel  that  they  are  open  about  it,  but  do  not  really  understand  it.  Let’s  face  it;  EHL  is  a  straight   environment,  and  a  lot  of  the  students  are  very  fond  of  all  the  little  rules  society  places  on  them.   So  I  think  they  accept  it  but  want  nothing  to  do  with  it.    Most  of  them  are  fine  but  I  don't  really  care.      They’re  open  about  it.  There  are  many  gays  and  lesbians  I  know  in  school  who  won’t  deny   it…but  a  lot  are  also  in  deep  denial  and  do  a  lot  to  hide  it.    Depends  on  the  culture  of  each  person.  In  general,  I  feel  Europeans  are  more  open  to  it.     Do  you  feel  like  you  have  to  hide  your  sexuality?    Yes,  because  it  doesn’t  suit  some  students’  opinion  of  EHL’s  image.    A  bit.  Rumours  always  go  around  about  people  being  “different”  and  I’m  afraid  being  so  open   about  it  may  just  add  to  that.    I’m  quite  open  with  all  my  friends,  but  if  a  stranger  comes  and  asks  me,  I  don’t  think  I  have  to   answer  him/her.      No,  I  just  go  with  the  flow.      Hahahahaha….  Totally  no  one  knows  I’m  gay,  it's  a  “bigggg”  secret.      Actually,  I  tried  to  hide  it  during  the  first  weeks  in  AP  but  then  I  realized  how  cool  people  were  in   EHL  and  didn’t  want  to  hide  it  anymore.  I  mean,  I  don’t  need  everybody  to  know  but  I  won’t   deny  it.    I  think  it  is  easier  to  hide  it  than  to  disclose  it.  I  want  to  be  accepted  for  who  I  am,  not  for  whom   I  sleep  with.     What  is  the  most  common  misconception  of  homosexuality  in  school?    Some  people  think  we’re  sick…or  weird.    I  think  EHL  students  only  think  of  males  when  they  hear  the  word  homosexual.  They  tend  to   forget  that  women  can  be  homosexual  as  well.  Lesbian  intimacy  only  seems  to  be  accepted   when  it  involves  two  beautiful  women  who  are  often  actually  straight  or  might  have  some  bi-­‐ curious  tendencies.    Lesbians  always  have  short  boyish  hair,  ugly  clothes  and  way  too  much  body  hair  (moustache,   arm  pit  etc.).  This  is  a  very  outdated  view  but  it  is  still  present  in  a  lot  of  minds.    That  we  have  to  be  feminine.  That  we  have  to  be  good  in  fashion.  That  we’re  promiscuous.  And   the  worst  is  that  people  think  that  gay  guys  are  always  hitting  on  them.    In  general,  I  feel  that  women  think  lesbians  automatically  think  they  are  hot  or  that  they  could   be  a  potential  flirt.  Just  because  I  like  women  doesn’t  mean  I’m  attracted  to  all  my  female   friends.      Guys,  it’s  not  because  I  say  “hello”  with  a  big  and  honest  smile  that  I  want  you  and  It’s  not   because  I  ask  your  phone  number  that  I  love  you  and  I  want  more…       Did  you  ever  experience  any  obstacles  because  of  your  sexuality  in  school?  If  so  how  did  you  overcome   them?  


 No. I  think  my  sexuality  lets  me  find  friends  more  easily  and  makes  people  like  me.  There  is   something  special  about  us  -­‐  a  sense  of  fashion,  IQ,  ability  to  understand  people  and   socialize…so  I  guess  this  is  a  gift!    The  biggest  obstacle  for  me  is  to  be  myself  100%  of  the  time.  I  feel  that  maybe  being  more  open   about  it  would  make  me  feel  more  comfortable.  This  is  something  I  am  working  on  right  now   with  the  help  of  a  school  council  member.    No,  but  as  I  said  we  are  lucky  to  study  at  EHL.    There  have  been  rumours,  but  I  really  couldn’t  care.    It’s  hard  for  gay  guys  to  be  friends  with  straight  guys.  And  then,  those  straight  guys  who  actually   become  our  friends  are  made  fun  of  for  hanging  out  with  us.  It  sucks,  but  those  who  stick  with   us  through  the  end;  those  are  our  real  friends.     Why  do  you  think  students  may  be  opposed  to  same  sex  relationship?    Maybe  it’s  just  because  they  are  not  used  to  it.      People  might  think  it  is  unnatural.  In  fact,  almost  all  mammals  have  homosexual  tendencies  –   how  unnatural  is  it  really?!    Students  might  not  accept  homosexuality  because  of  their  religion.  I  respect  their  religion  as   long  as  they  respect  my  private  life.  No  one  can  decide  for  you,  who  you  love  and  who  you  want   to  spend  your  life  with.    Misunderstanding  and  lack  of  understandings  I  guess.    They  just  think  about  sex  and  they  don’t  imagine  a  boy  loving  a  boy  or  a  girl  loving  a  girl.     The  LGBT  committee  initiative  in  school,  what  is  it  about  and  what  would  you  do?    It  was  to  promote  diversity  &  positive  attitude  regarding  LGBTs.  It  could’ve  also  been  a  possible   support  center  for  students  to  assess/share  how  it  can  be  addressed  in  school  and  beyond.  We   would  have  professional  networking  (through  guest  speakers,  round  tables  etc),  social   gatherings  and  guidance  for  potential  candidates.     What  happened  to  it?    From  the  school,  there  was  no  opposition  (we  met  with  the  school  psychologists,  I  had  a  chat   with  Thomas  Hartleyb…  and  they  were  supportive),  and  we  also  met  two  alumni  who  were   supportive.    The  main  issue  is  the  “traction”  itself  –  With  the  support  of  the  Student  Council,  I  wrote  a  mail   to  a  few  people  who  were  identified  (word  of  mouth)  as  being  possibly  interested.  Only  a  few  of   them  responded  showing  interest  (2  or  3),  another  one  seemed  annoyed.    After  setting  a  first  meeting  (we  were  four),  it  appeared  that  we  were  far  from  a  critical  mass  to   start  a  committee  and  the  2  or  3  students  who  were  supposed  to  join  for  the  following  meeting   never  showed  up.     Do  you  think  your  sexuality  will  affect  your  career,  especially  when  it  comes  to  prospective  employers?    It  depends  on  the  country  of  course.    Not  really.  Although,  I  know  Hyatt  was  voted  to  be  the  gay  friendliest  employer.    I  think  it  depends  on  the  company  and  corporate  culture.  I  know  a  guy  who  was  turned  down  for   an  internship  in  a  hotel  in  Switzerland  because  he  looked  too  gay  and  it’s  not  the  company   image.    At  work,  it  doesn’t  really  matter  as  long  as  you’re  being  professional.     Do  you  think  that  homosexuals  are  better  in  bed?  


 This really  depends  on  individuals;  there  are  differences  even  between  straight  people.    I  can  do  things  to  a  woman  a  man  doesn’t  even  understand  –  although  he  can  do  things  I   couldn’t  do  either.  I  believe  that  making  love  is  not  gender  related.  It’s  how  much  you  click  with   someone  physically.    That  really  depends  on  the  skill.      You  should  ask  my  boyfriend        Yes,  although  it’s  not  their  fault,  in  bed,  men  can  be  selfish  sometimes.     Are  you  in  a  relationship  now?    No…  and  it  sucks.    Finding  one  [boyfriend/girlfriend]  is  hard  enough  as  it  is,  even  worse  when  you  don’t  even  know   who  you’re  looking  for.    Yes,  I  have  been  in  a  relationship  for  6.5  months  with  a  wonderful  girl,  and  still  going  strong.    Yes  and  I  think  he’s  the  good  one  for  me!    I  met  someone  recently…so  we’ll  see.     At  this  point  in  your  life,  what  is  important  to  you?    Finding  happiness  and  real  meaning  in  life.    My  siblings.    School,  friendship  and  love.    Making  the  most  of  every  day.    Eating,  sleeping  and  being  happy.    To  not  fail  this  module.    To  study  well  and  take  enough  time  to  share  unforgettable  moments  with  my  family,  my   boyfriend  and  my  friends.     Fun  facts?    Gays  can  be  good  at  sports  too.    Gay  pickup  lines  –  Hey  you’re  looking  fine,  like  Calvin  Klein.    If  you  want  to  better  understand  lesbian  relationships,  I  suggest  watching  the  series  The  L  Word   and  Lip  Service.  They  give  a  proper  insight  into  our  lives  and  loves.    It’s  fun  to  be  gay!  You  get  to  be  with  the  person  you  want,  isn’t  that  fun?       Is  there  anything  you  want  to  say  to  the  student  body  of  EHL?    I  really,  really  hate  it  when  people  say,  “I’m  ok  with  gays  as  long  as  you  don’t  be  ‘too  gay’  or  ‘too   obvious’”.  Would  you  say  that  to  a  woman?  Don't  constrict  us  from  being  who  we  are.    Please  stop  asking  if  I’m  on  top  all  the  time.    Don’t  judge  if  you  don’t  know.  Stay  open  and  learn.    People  that  don’t  know  about  gay  culture  need  to  educate  themselves  and  see  that  we  are  just   normal  people!    Be  honest  about  who  you  are  from  the  very  beginning  otherwise  people  will  just  talk  behind   your  back.    I’m  here  and  I’m  queer.  Get  used  to  it.     Thank  you  for  all  persons  that  contributed  to  this  interview.  It  takes  a  lot  of  courage  to  truly  be  who  you   are  and  to  everyone  else;  it  takes  equal  strength  to  accept  something  you’re  not  comfortable  with.   Hopefully,  this  has  helped  open  people  (no  pun  intended)  to  a  different  viewpoint  and  for  the  sake  of  


ending in  a  dramatic-­‐morally-­‐conscious-­‐life-­‐changing  note  this  writer  hopes  that  any  prejudices  or   ignorance  concerning  homosexuality  before  may  have  now  been  removed.  [World]  peace  out!  

Homosexuality in EHL  

By Queeney Hernandez

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