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!