‘As we’ve grown, we’ve become very different’
HARVEY GARDNER, 26, is an art therapy student; his twin LUKE is a hotel receptionist. They are both single.
LUKE SAYS When we were young, Harvey and I were almost mirror images of one another. We can’t even tell who’s who in some of our family photos. But as we’ve grown, we’ve become very different people. Harvey doesn’t look like me at all now, with long hair and a beard. I don’t know if it’s conscious. Probably. But Harvey has always been quite unique.
The bond twins share is definitely stronger than just siblings. If we’re in a room together and we’re having a chinwag, it is a bit odd for other people. We’ll just be talking rubbish with one another and laughing away like kids. There is a comfort zone that comes with being a twin. It’s almost as though you’re on your own, but you’re not. You’re with this person who ‘gets’ you completely. However, if you get too comfortable then you don’t grow, get to know other people or develop better social skills. But that’s because it’s so easy when you’re with your twin.
I knew when we were about 13 that I was straight and Harvey was gay. At first I thought he was some sort of stud because he had so many lady friends, whereas I’d be out playing football. When he told me he was gay, I was, like, ‘Yeah, it doesn’t really surprise me,’ but I think it was quite a big deal for him. Obviously he cares what other people think, but we both care most about what we think of one another. If I had turned round and shunned him, it would have really hurt him.
We’ve both always had deep questions about what sexuality really is. My opinion is loose. I don’t think there is necessarily a ‘preference’ but that some people try to hide who they really are. I think everyone can be attracted in some way to one another; it’s more about whether people are open about it or not. HARVEY SAYS I had a very sheltered childhood in terms of sexuality. I knew I was different. I didn’t want to do things with girls that other guys were talking about.
I was at least 12 when I realised I liked men. I kept it a secret because life wasn’t like it is now. School was quite a horrible place for me. I had goofy teeth and braces. I really didn’t look the part – I got bullied.
The roots of sexuality are something that I’ve been thinking about for years. I feel a bit like an anomaly, and have done for a long time. I believe our family dynamics play out a lot in our relationships. In our family, there’s a bit of a split down the middle, with me being closest to our mum and Luke being closest to our dad. And I think we’ve taken on those masculine and feminine qualities. In my opinion, sexuality is based on life experience and it can be enhanced according to what kind of upbringing you have.
That said, neither of us is that romantically inclined. We’re not really that fussed. When you have a twin, you can just think, ‘Oh it’s fine – I’ll probably just move in with Luke when I get old.’
IN MY OPINION, SEXUALITY IS BASED ON LIFE EXPERIENCE AND UPBRINGING”
Clockwise from far left: Harvey, left, and Luke, aged around six – ‘we were mirror images of one another’; the pair at a family birthday, and aged 11 starting to assert their individuality (Luke is on the left)