Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fighting homophobia my way

I work for the student representation organization at my university in the "office" for women and discrimination. I'm not sure how to explain that or if you all know those organizations, wikipedia calls it a students' union. Anyways, what we do is represent students who feel discriminated against and we organize events. We already had one of those events, called "Ladies Brunch", this term and while we anticipated about 150 guests, 244 students showed up! I was really surprised at how well it went and so, I'm right now planning the next event. The problem is that my "boss" has to work during the time of the UEFA Euro 2008 and therefore, I'm all on my own organizing and preparing the next event.

What I have planned right now is an evening event, with drinks (coffee, juices,...) and snacks (chips, cakes, cookies), nothing formal. I want to put this event under the theme of homosexuality to sort of get the students talking about this topic. I study in Innsbruck, which lies in Tyrol, or as I call it, the "Holy Country of Tyrol". The thing is, in Tyrol, the Catholic Church is still really important and traditions are even more important. A lot of people around here are still very close-minded and don't accept homosexuality which saddens me. So I thought I'll try and challenge at least the students to talk about it and see how it goes. I'm really worried that nobody will show up. I'm doing this all on my own and I feel like this is my small contribution to battling homophobia, but I don't want to fail miserably. I will invite all the students studying at my university via an e-mail and therefore, I can already contact a lot of people. This e-mail invitation worked really well for our "Ladies Brunch". But you never know whether they will be intrigued by the theme or whether this will keep them from even giving this event a chance. In my hometown, there is a similar event taking place at the university twice a month and about 10 to 20 people take place every time. But they don't invite all the students via e-mail but just have a homepage and people who are actively searching for an LGBT-event can easily find it.

I have already asked one friend of mine to help me set up everything in the evening, she said that she would help but she has an exam until 6 pm and the event will start at 6.30. Tomorrow, I'll call another friend to see whether she can help and then we'll see how I will do. I just really hope that at least some people show up and that I don't make a complete fool out of myself.

On a side note: I think I might be heterophobic. WARNING: If you love Callica as much as I do, I recommend not watching the video! I saw this video, which somehow totally crushed my fantasies and dreams. I know that that's bad, but I somehow felt better when I didn't know for sure what was going on. I'll get over it, but right now I'm a little sad... That's like the time when I had this huge crush on this teacher of mine and for the first year I thought that she was single (she is divorced), but then I found out that she had a boyfriend and I cried myself to sleep each night for a week. That's pathetic, I'm aware of that, but I can't help it.


Leah said...


I linked to your blog via an afterellen comment and wanted to say hi. I live in Northern Ireland and have friends from Bregenz, well actually Horbranz. I've been over a few times and we passed through Innsbruck. Our friends have come to visit us every year in the summer so we know how conservative it can be over there. They only know of one person who has come out and it was a very hard thing for her to do as plenty of people didn't take it too well.

Well done on trying to organise events and be open and out. I often lose sight of how easy my partner and I have it in my country. There are still problems and discrimination but I have been out since my teens in all my jobs and with all my family and friends with no problems. I am careful about disclosing it in certain areas or situations but it's not a huge issue (for me personally) I can have a civil union if I wish and there is an annual Pride week and venues for me to go to.

I've read a little of your blog and sympathise with the being single problem and how everyone looks the same in LGBT communities! I only had a few short relationships before I met my current gf. We've been together for over 6 years but until our early 20's we both had similar problems with a small dating scene that was nearly impossible to meet someone new. We were both told to change the way we look and act to 'fit in' to the scene. I'm a really traditional looking femme and never wanted to change the way I was but I faced some discrimination from the LGBT community because I looked too straight!! My gf and I were both under the illusion that we would be welcomed onto the scene and feel at home when in reality there is actually a lot of internal segregation and bigotry towards new people or those that don't fit into their social circle. Shouldn't the whole ethos be diversity and equality?? It's just as bad as homophobia from straight people.

My personal view is to be out and proud to help get rid of the ignorance that perpetuates homophobia.

Okay, random rambling over!


P.S. I love Dorothy and Tammy's blogs too!

Nelfy said...

I didn't grow up in tyrol, so coming out was a bit easier for me, but I still don't always feel great telling people because some are nice to you, but then behind your back they hate you for being who you are... and I'm not out to my family, only to my parents and my sister knows even though I never really told her.

thanks for writing the comment, that actually encouraged me to keep on with what I'm doing. I really want to emigrate to canada or the us because of the way lgbt-people are treated here!

I have a few friends in the community who tell me that it's ok that I look the way I do, but most people see to think that I look too straight as well and that just sucks. but yay for you and your girlfriend finding each other!!

Anonymous said...

Quote: "That's like the time when I had this huge crush on this teacher of mine and for the first year I thought that she was single (she is divorced), but then I found out that she had a boyfriend and I cried myself to sleep each night for a week. That's pathetic, I'm aware of that, but I can't help it."

You're not alone. You're not pathetic. When I found out my crush was married, I was devastated and I cried too for a couple days and was miserable for almost a month. Then I found out she was pregnant (first baby), again I cried... for a week. Of course having a baby is a blessing but that just means NOW she has a bond with her husband that I will never have. Sigh.

Btw, I'm not out and proud yet too like you. I can say I'm a baby dyke too in some ways and I'm living in Canada. Take care and good luck on organizing your event.