Elie: “I was exposed, fired, and extremely humiliated!”
What did he do wrong? Elie did not know. He felt sad and depressed and thus decided to emigrate and leave everything behind in order to overcome his pain.
Elie is a 29-year-old young man who was studying and working at the same time to provide for himself. He was not ashamed of his sexual orientation; rather he proudly showed it. Yes, he is homosexual; however, he did not know that it was a crime that would cost him a lot.
Everything changed once he started working in a company cafeteria where he met a young man who was supposedly just a friend. Elie states that he was surprised by the way the young man behaved towards him even though Elie used to care a lot about him and tried to reach out to him. It was awkward for Elie. Although the young man had a girlfriend, he was not sure of his own sexual orientation. Despite all this, he was unable to control his feelings towards that young man and started getting attached to him. He loved going to work because he got to spend time with him. He even got into several fights because he would always defend him and did not want anyone to bother him. He was frustrated to the point that he decided to resign to both stay away from his colleague and avoid getting attached to him even more as he could not identify his feelings towards him. However, Elie felt that resigning only will not solve the problem; therefore, he decided to declare his love for his colleague. No doubt it was extremely difficult, but he was able to do it trying to justify his feelings for him. Elie thought that his colleague was trustworthy and thus would not reveal his secret. Elie was wrong. He was disappointed! He did not expect his colleague to react as such. Not only did his reaction not correspond to his behavior, but he also stabbed Elie in the back. He was a different person, and asked Elie to stay away from him. That is how their relationship started worsening.
In spite of all this, Elie was obliged to show up at work every day during the notice period. He was also trying to behave as if nothing happened, but his colleague always pushed him away until one day he revealed Elie’s secret and started gossiping with everyone about it. As a result, Elie’s news reached the manager, and of course the latter did not hesitate to bully and discriminate him.
Elie was so miserable to the point that he could not handle all this; thus, he had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized. In no time he got better and went back to work to serve his notice period just to find out that his manager had already decided to fire him because he had considered his behavior unacceptable. He even forbade him from coming to work when he found out about his sexual orientation and used offensive slurs against him in front of everyone. When Elie showed up to get his salary, he was not allowed to enter the building, so he got his salary outside.
That is how Elie suffered from depression for six months. He was so depressed that he tried to commit suicide several times. In addition, when his family discovered his sexual orientation, they utterly refused the idea. Elie even got beaten and humiliated by his older brother. That is when he felt his life was over and he lost hope in holding on. Meanwhile, he got to meet a group of American people through an internet application. They understood his sexual orientation, trusted him, and tried to help him until he overcame his depression and got his life back. This kept him away from all the negative energy he was exposed to.
To conclude, despite his resignation, Elie was fired, mistreated, and humiliated in front of everyone. His basic human rights were violated, and his dignity denied. Unfortunately, many people encounter the same problems because of their different sexual orientation which must not be of anyone’s business whatsoever. It can only concern every individual him/herself.
Today, Elie confesses “I have more self-confidence and I do not care about the negative reactions of the people around. I am in the process of applying for an emigration visa to a European country where I would definitely be able to find a job. I will shine, thrive and fulfil all my ambitions. Most importantly, I will be in a country that can uphold all my human rights and respect me as a citizen.
I am leaving. It is impossible for me to live in a society that has rejected me or among colleagues who have bullied me just because of my sexual orientation. I want to live free and secure a future where I can lead a peaceful life.”
This story was documented as part of the “Enhancing the Inclusivity of the LGBTI community in Workplaces in Lebanon” project funded by the European Union and executed by SIDC in partnership with ACTED.