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16-year-old British schoolboys comments


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This essay was is one of the side posts found from Chris's illuminating link concerning the outrageous and horrifying aspects of Pooh. It's worth reading. It presents a picture different from what I've been led to believe. It's very well-written, too.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/10/comment-the-truth-about-being-a-gay-16-year-old-at-an-all-boys-boarding-school/

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Very interesting, Cole. I might say that nothing seems to have changed since my High School days around 60 years ago.

It should be noted that my state run all boys high school was modelled along the British classical education system with a preoccupation of all things sport; something I loathed.

There was however a "blind eye" turned toward the 13 and 14 year old students who were discussing, comparing and generally becoming acquainted with each others' hormonal driven explorations. Very little bullying occurred, and I like to think that was due to the school authority understanding the nature of pubescent experimention. It seemed to say that given enough rope, the boys would grow out of the investigation of their fellow students.

I had reached the conclusion that the preoccupation with sport was encouraged so that the students would become too exhausted to experiment sexually. That didn't work, thankfully.

As Olly mentions in his story at Cole's link, homosexual education was not mentioned in the class. Of course I am referring to my time at school in the 1950s. So if nothing was revealed at school, even less was mentioned on the home front where fact was easier to avoid with extraordinary fictions. We boys had not even been told about the religious taboos, let alone the criminal code. The logic seems to have been that if no one mentioned the subject, no boy would commit the crime and the children would all be safe.

The side effect of this logic was confounded by the lack of knowledge of the existence of same sex attraction, and inevitably ended up with each boy wondering if he was the only one who had these feelings. This resulted in self condemnation, especially if religious taboos had been a strong influence in earlier years.

However, from a psychological view, and dare I say a more foretelling view of realisations yet to be investigated, there was a more horrifying aspect to the isolation from education on such an important issue. Armed only with the eventual discovery that the same sex attraction was not isolated, we boys defined ourselves as the criminals known as homosexuals. I think that is why so many older gay men have a difficulty with the young rejecting labels for themselves.

The social and cultural taboos, rendered us as disadvantaged, unless we sought the acceptance to be found in some occupations and clandestine clubs.

To what measure the current gene theory, as a cause or contribution to sexual orientation, permits us to sidestep our personal development into fully mature sexual beings, is to presuppose that being homosexual is somehow deficient. Yet, there is also the realisation that each of us has the great advantage of being placed in the position of having to question our existence by asking, and considering what is life, and love all about? A question perhaps that has now surfaced from the depths of deception in human consciousness. It's a question that is exposed for all to see, whenever a person who dares declare their love and affection for another person of the same sex. In short homosexuality might be thought of, as a Zen Koan to demand that we meditate on the impossible being real, and reality offers so much more than the obvious assumptions of male and female complementarity being the only meaningful relationship.

If we can avoid the return to the Dark Ages of yesteryear, and there is no guarantee that we will, but if we can, then it will be because of those people who have dared to discover that love is not defined by what we call ourselves, unless we have questioned who we are, and that is something no LGBTQ person can ever really avoid.

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However, from a psychological view, and dare I say a more foretelling view of realisations yet to be investigated, there was a more horrifying aspect to the isolation from education on such an important issue. Armed only with the eventual discovery that the same sex attraction was not isolated, we boys defined ourselves as the criminals known as homosexuals. I think that is why so many older gay men have a difficulty with the young rejecting labels for themselves.

Des, I don't know how it is elsewhere but when I was at the University of California at Berkeley (2007-2013) there were at least five separate LGBTA groups on campus. The most interesting thing, to me, is I found that when in high school those of us who were gay rejected all other labels. But at UC I found the opposite: most of the groups and their members labeled themselves as queer, fag, homo... all terms other than gay.

My conclusion? They felt they needed a way of differentiating themselves. I found that sad. I didn't and don't care about those labels, about labeling myself so I'm classed as different. I consider "gay" part of the definition of who I am. Note, not what I am, who I am.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I interpreted Des's comment differently. I've heard of a number of people who will not define themselves as gay/straight/bi. They refuse to be labelled and just consider themselves to be...themselves. That's what I thought Des was referring to.

Personally, I don't mind that. My view is that a label is a box, and people don't fit into boxes neatly (unless you use a chainsaw). I use myself as an example. I might call myself 'gay', but I'm in a happy, stable heterosexual relationship in which my wife knows my sexual orientation (though she didn't know it when we married). I refuse to consider myself to be 'bi' because I'm not sexually attracted to women like I am to men -- I just happen to be in love with one woman and sexually attracted to guys....

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I agree that many teens and young adults refuse to be labeled. I do too, and that's what I wrote. However, there are groups of teens and young adults at UC Berkeley, and friends at other universities have told me it's the same at their schools, who actively and proudly apply those same labels to themselves. Different strokes, etc.

Colin :icon_geek:

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It's rather like the question, are you disabled? As Human Resources folk should know by now, some of us will answer, no, to this question yet would have to answer, yes, were we asked, do you have a disability?

In the case of disabilities, it's an attitude of mind. Something grasped by some folk and not others.

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The words 'handicapped' and 'challenged' probably more accurately deal with people with impairments of some sort. One might be justified in saying that I am hetero-sexually challenged as opposed to disabled.

I suspect the descriptive word boxes we accept or choose about ourselves has much more to do with how much we wish to fit in with others than with the representative accuracy of the words themselves.

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Most labels such as these seem designed to indicate that someone is other than 'normal' (whatever that is) or they more pointedly are meant to patronize, disparage, or condemn. Only occasionally does a label appear to celebrate, such as 'gay'. I'll go with gay.

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