Gays Made in Spain
As most of you know, I'm Dutch, but I currently live among Seattle (USA), London (UK), and Geneva (Switzerland). However, I do business and invest in Spain, the country where I grew up, and for this reason, I read the Spanish press every day, and I do also read, from time to time, Spanish blogs and websites.
Today I have visited the blog of Jesus Encinar, the founder of Idealista, a successful real estate portal in Spain. Jesus, a graduate of Harvard Business School is gay, and he is proud of being different. A few months ago he made it public in the weekly magazine of El Mundo, one of the most influencial Spanish newspapers, and today he is giving a speech at the well-known Instituto de Empresa, one of the world leading business schools, headquartered in Madrid.
Reading his post, I've found out that Spain, one of the most liberal countries of the world these days, it's at the same time one of the most conservatives ones. The gay community has grown, and there are some gay neighborhoods in the main cities, like Chueca in Madrid, quite similar to Castro in San Francisco.
Although the mentality of Spanish people has changed a lot in the last few years, and today most of the Spaniards say in public that they are not homophobe, I can assert that most of them are.
Instituto de Empresa's dean, Mr. Santiago Iniguez, and the Director of the Centre for Diversity in Global Management at this academic institution, Ms. Celia de Anca, have welcomed the launching of IEOut, the group of gays and lesbians of their business school, and have recorded a video to introduce the meeting that Encinar will lead today at IE. However, both of them have presented excuses for not attending this event.
Obviously, this is part of the false morality of Spain, where people say in public something that they do not really feel. Today is not politically correct to recognize that you are against gays and lesbians, and as an institution Instituto de Empresa should proclaim values such as diversity and tolerance, but its members are not prepared to be a 100% tolerant, since I guess that they, as most Spaniards, are still quite homophobe (*).
(*) Homophobia is the fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals. It can also mean hatred, hostility, or disapproval of homosexual people, sexual behavior, or cultures, and is generally used to insinuate bigotry.