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Comment: The truth about being a gay 16-year-old at an all boys boarding school

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  1. An articlle on ‘class’ and ‘homosexuality’ written by a sixteen year old… interesting.

    1. Did you miss how wise and articulate he is?

    2. Mark to clarify – what exactly is the point of your comment ?

    3. This mercury on this comment rating is heading towards liquid nitrogen territory for a reason, Mark.

    4. Because 16 year olds don’t face homophobia in their private schools… obviously (eyeroll)

    5. Paul Essex/London 12 Jan 2013, 4:01pm

      As opposed to an article on what it’s like for 16 year olds in school today written be someone who is neither a teenage nor school?

  2. Andrew Duncan 10 Jan 2013, 12:30pm

    The tragedy of this is that I could have written the same article 45 years ago, if I had have had the courage of this young man. Very little has changed in that timescale.

    1. “Had have had”?? No need to give the North a bad name…

    2. Frankly Jones 14 Jan 2013, 1:55pm

      I also go to the school on question and I am not homophobic in anyway. I believe that we should not differentiate between sexual orientation simply allowing people to do what ever makes them happy without putting a label on it.

      I do not know the Mr Hudson very well or if he’s been through any abuse. However I very much doubt that the vast majority of lads have said anything to him about it at all. Instead simply accepting his ‘coming out’ without making to much fuss about it. This is why I find it extremely offensive that I have been labeled a “misogynist” a “homophobe” and an “ape” I deffinately can.not be labeled any of these things and it seems to suggest that Mr Hudson some how views himself as superior to the rest of us “apes”

      I am also disgusted in the vile manner in which the article was written. Mr Hudson didn’t confront those who were supposedly picking on him. But instead went to a seperate website generally only visited by people who are gay to write about them behind their backs. Here he could be certain that the majority of readers would support his case. It only came out into the limelight after Stephen Fry tweeted the article.

      All in all we can be sure that Mr Huson’s situation is deffinately going to worsen, nit because he is gay, but because he has managed to collectively insult 800 people which he encounters on a daily basis.

      Good luck.

      1. The “school on question”, as you say, has not been named anywhere in the article, so you clearly picked up on the author’s name somewhere and put two-and-two together. By openly naming him as a pupil at your school you have inadvertently libelled YOURSELF against any future negative consequences Mr Hudson may experience.

        Contrary to your claim that Mr Hudson’s situation “is definitely going to (sic) worsen”, he has, in fact, done himself a great favour by bringing attention the apparently tolerated climate of homophobia at your school.

        This article is no more “vile” than your apparent ignorance of homophobia is ingenious.

        If your teachers were to look at something called the Equality Act 2010, they would find that homophobic bullying is ILLEGAL, and failure to intervene in anything from classroom “banter” directly contravenes the law. (e.g. “All students have an equal right to education, regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation.”)

        Good luck.

  3. A great article, well written and informative. From my own school experience I realise schools,teachers and children need to be freed from religious influences. Then perhaps schools will be better able to discuss sexuality.

  4. Its the same in state schools … its just not talked about – PSHE education needs to be for all not just for the majority.

    1. I was my schools first child to be struggling with accepting my sexuality, i found that when i spoke to the school counsellor regarding it and regretting a sexual experience. They were not prepared to accept it, they made the decision to tell my parents for me (including my sexual activity) despite me pleading with them not to which lead to a big bust up at home.

      The fact that the staff were not capable of handling it made it even worse for me, and they were unable to deal with bullying – the only teacher who was capable was ironically the PE teacher who took it all in his stride and was the only one who recognised my anger with myself, the school and other other students.

      1. sounds like material for a good comment piece.

      2. Interesting comment, @James. How long ago were you at school?

  5. Paul Clevett 10 Jan 2013, 12:45pm

    Brilliant Article I hope get a chance to write some more.

  6. Well written and timely. The encouraging thing about this article is that although things in schools have sadly not changed much since the beginning of time, expectation from young gay people is changing. Nobody of my generation would have thought of writing such a piece. At my RC private boys school it was enough just not to get beaten up.

    1. Nobody of my generation would have thought of writing such a piece.

      Ditto. Grim though the situation undoubtedly is, it’s a marked improvement on the past that a 16yo can write an article like this (and find an outlet for it).

  7. Undoubtedly a great article. However, I think the example of one independent school cannot really be used to charicrerise the whole sector. From my expiriances, the freedom of private schools to interpret the PHSE system has lead to a great inclusion of LGBT issues.
    That said, I went to one former all boys school that was horribly intolerant of diversity. Although, the most liberal and inclusive schools I’ve ever seen have been top private ones where students even discuss gay rights while eating lunch. Perhaps an interesting destination to make is between independent schools and top private schools.

    1. Francesca Croft 10 Jan 2013, 1:59pm

      I have to say that this is not just a one-off instance. Having been to an independent single-gender school myself, I can certainly agree with how it felt. There most certainly was a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ aura of the whole place, and I’m not alone. I’ve spoken to many people who also went to independent single-gender schools, and their experience has been the same. Maybe there are some really lovely independent schools which have great inclusion of LGBT issues, and a lovely PSHE system. They, unfortunately, are few and far between.

  8. Tom Fraser 10 Jan 2013, 1:03pm

    Really feel for this kid going through what appears to be a pretty tough time. I wish I could tell him that it won’t be long until he can break free and that the school days although tough are what makes you into the strongest version of you.

    Just by reading the article alone- which is incredibly well written for a 16 year old I might add- I can see he’s got a really great future ahead of him.

    Ignorance isn’t bliss, especially in schools and there 100% needs to be more support for gay children both in state schools and independents.

    1. I am a fellow pupil of Olly’s year at school and have known him for a few years since his arrival. I respect all people’s sexuality and feel no prejudice to people for that, as I have both friends and family who are homosexual and respect their decisions.

      But I feel that Olly has gone too far with this article and feel that it is a rash generalisation towards what he thinks the school is like and not what it is actually like. I am especially upset at the way he labels members of the school as “Apes”, as I can tell you we are not.

      When I found out about Olly’s sexuality, which was only a few days ago I mioght add, I respected his decision, as like the rest of the school body. His announcement was met with not much fuss and life continued on as normal, I had not heard any homophobic phrases or any physical abuse against Olly. People generally didn’t care as they still thought of him as “Olly”. I have never met people at the school that Olly describes in his article and I must state

      1. cont.

        that what Olly has described in his article is very over exaggerated. He makes himself out as a star in a tragedy and has made many people upset and angry, including myself. He has made things much more hard for himself, not due to his sexuality, but due to the insults he has given in this article.

        He does though give some very good points towards PHSE and this needs to be answered.

        I wish him good luck for the future (becuase he will need it)!

        1. What you must also understand is that homophobic insults, including use of the term ‘gay’ in a negative context (i.e. ‘That’s SO gay!’), all contribute towards a hostile environment. Direct bullying is only part of the problem.

          The apparently psychotic level of cognitive dissonance (look it up) it takes for people – especially teenagers – to become desensitised to the the word ‘gay’ as an insult never ceases to amaze. You can’t equate homosexuality with something s_it and expect to be let off the hook in the same way nobody in their right mind would let racism go unchallenged.

          As an aside, every reputable study of human sexuality has concluded that homophobia is a by-product of internalised homosexual guilt. Think about that next time you hear ‘gay’ used as an insult.

  9. A well written, articulate and insightful article written by a 16yo boy crying out for help. I hope someone out there hears his cries. Well done to Pink News for giving him an outlet

  10. Dan Filson 10 Jan 2013, 1:20pm

    No parent should accept a school’s assertion tat it tackles bullying until they explicitly state how they tackle homophobic bullying which I am certain constitutes a higher proportion of all bullying than even staff or students of the school realise. Some of the bullying on account of wimpness is coded – or not so coded – homophobic bullying. Mobile phones can also be used for bullying by circulating photos at speed. All courage and credit to Olly for coming out with this article.

  11. Mark Newman 10 Jan 2013, 1:37pm

    Echoing the above, great article, very well-written. One thing I feel I should add for Olly – if he’s reading this – is that sadly, the loutishness, banter & misogny that he has so accurately described and which those involved feel so entitled to indulge in, isn’t simply a result of being in an all-male private school. It is riven through society as a whole, and unfortunately moving into the ‘real world’ will not necessarily be an escape from it.

  12. I attended an independent boarding school myself between 2005 and 2010, and completely agree those in authority do little to tackle the laddish and homophobic behaviour. There is a degree of ‘old boy’ culture among many of the male teachers in these schools, and in my experience it was not uncommon to hear homophobic language coming from (male) staff themselves.

    How can we expect to enlighten pupils when homophobic language and taunting is not challenged by teachers, and in some cases is perpetuated by them?

  13. This article made for a good read, although it’s worth bearing in mind that this is one experience of one school (in South Wales…) My experiences in an all male, catholic grammar school that I finished four years ago were quite different. Homophobia was only occasionally mentioned as an issue by teachers, but the “banter” as it’s called in the article was very common. I saw it as just that; banter. I found a sense of comradeship between year groups, much more than friends at mixed sex schools – social groups and ‘clicks’ were prevalent there. I never saw myself as any different than most other kids, other than I wasn’t fixated on female teachers and didn’t play sport. Since coming to Uni I think that attitude has helped me settle into hetrosexual and homosexual groups easily.
    Again, this is only one person’s experience but I think it has more to do with an individual’s attitude than the school they attend. Perhaps Olly will see things differently when he comes ‘out’ the other side.

    1. I’m glad that this kind of banter seems to have been water off a duck’s back for you. But as you say, it’s just your experience.

      Many people who are on the wrong end of this kind of “banter” do find it damaging to their self-esteem, and saying that this is down to the “individual’s attitude” is not helpful.

      People, including young people, are entitled to their own opinions – however vile. But they don’t have an unqualified right to share those opinions at all times and places. Just as employers don’t allow hate speech at work, it shouldn’t be allowed in schools, where it makes vulnerable young people feel unsafe and can interfere with their education.

      It sounds as if you feel your experiences at school prepared you well for adult life, which is great. But for many people this kind of banter contributes to deep-seated insecurity with lifelong consequences.

    2. Niall – like you I went to catholic borading school as a day boy and I agree with everything you say. However, I was fixated with sport, played on virtually every sports team and went on to play football in the US on a full soccer scholarship. This indeed is just one person’s story, and having met many gay people who excelled in sports at school, this boy’s account is not a thing I recognise. I teach now in a secondary school in London, and can safely say that teachers are working hard to conter discrimination of all types.

  14. A great article. I am prepared to name and shame. I attended Roding Valley High School in Loughton, Essex (a comprehensive) from 2006-2011. I was never out when I was there, but I found it to be a quite a hostile environment nonetheless. There were no openly gay students or staff while I was there, so I don’t know how the population would have reacted to a real live LGBT person, but casual homophobia was prevalent throughout all year groups, and not once did I see a teacher challenge it. PSHE was the most pathetic aspect of the school. Drugs was covered, and covered, and covered again, it being the only thing that the teachers who were coerced into teaching it felt comfortable with, but issues relating to homosexuality were never, and I seriously mean never, mentioned either in their known right, or as part of sex education (which if it’s any consolation, was far from perfect in its delivery even for heterosexual people).

  15. Further to my last comment, by contrast I have spent the last 2 years openly gay at the independent coeducational Chigwell School in Chigwell, Essex, and have found it to have a equally hostile population. Nothing has been said to my face, aside from having ‘queer’ yelled at me from an open window, but I have had homophobic comments made about me behind my back. To its credit, the school seems more concerned about bullying than Roding Valley did, but there is still a woeful lack of education in the field of homosexuality, both in the sense of that which is specifically relevant to gay people (of which there are 2 in the 400 strong senior school who are open about it, myself included) and in educating the rest of the population about tolerance and what being gay actually is. I suspect a lot of the problem stems from the school’s 384 year old affiliation with the church of England and the attitude of blind conservatism associated with this

  16. I am a part time youth worker, working with LGBT young people. This story is all too familiar, not just in the private but also in the state school sector (especially in faith schools). I regularly talk sex-ed with the young people who come to our group and give them as much detail and information as they need/want (all age appropriate etc.) We are not prohibited from talking to them about such things (even if U16) as long as we assess their understanding etc. We do not need parental consent either (Gillick compentency test) They get little or no such information at school or in the home (probably understandably as most of their parents are str8). Needless to say condom use is impressed upon both the young men and young women and the use of lube etc. It is one of the most important things in my job, being able to help young men live a happier and healthy life, something I wish I’d had access to when their age.

  17. This is a lovely and articulate article, well done to the author. Very good points throughout and quite sad that ignorance is leading to death in so many young people

  18. NickDavisGB 10 Jan 2013, 2:59pm

    Congrats Olly, great article, and I too agree with Andrew (although in my case it was only 30 yrs ago). Also with CW about the different culture’s between Grammer (Independant) schools and Private (Public) one’s.
    Part of the trouble stems from the fact that students at Private schools have been trained from an early age that they will inherit the Earth, consequently, they are less socialy insecure.
    Whereas Grammer Boys (and teachers) know they have to fit in, and suck up, to rise into the top positions in life, and they are aping what they believe to be the correct behaviour.
    Being rude and loud and pushy and intolerant is how they have been dragged up by rude, loud. pushy and intolerant parents..

  19. “But there can be no doubt that more is done, at least to make teenagers aware of the nature of homosexuality in the state system, than is done in the private sector”

    Really? Maybe things have changed a lot in the last few years, but at my community high school (I’m in my early 20s), the two times I remember teachers making any reference to homosexuality were one throwaway sentence in a sex education lesson (“…and if you’re gay, that’s OK too”), and an art teacher shyly admitting being gay after a pupil directly asked him. I doubt there was a single day on which I didn’t hear multiple homophobic slurs, and none of the staff ever took any action against this. There seems to be a lot of evidence that community schools tend to do significantly better than religious state schools, too.

  20. This is a really interesting, and well-written article, but I’m afraid the headline is misleading and largely defeats the purpose of the article.

    I attended a boarding school myself, and can only report that being gay in that environment was startlingly unremarkable.

    In my Lower XIth year, I was asked to give one of the talks in the daily chapel service. In it, I came out to the whole school. Aside from a few weeks’ interest in the novelty of asking questions about who I fancied etc, it was largely unnoticed.

    The truth is that much of the casual homophobia we see in society is caused by the perpetrator never having consciously met a gay person. Unlike racism, you cannot tell by looking at a group of people whether somebody might be personally affected by your comments.

    Schools everywhere seriously need to up their game on homophobia. In doing so they will enable more people to come out and show the world being gay isn’t weird. It’s quite bland, actually.

    1. “Schools everywhere seriously need to up their game on homophobia”

      Absolutely right. It’s something ALL schools should attend to. Schools vary enormously in the way they treat homophobic comments and in what they offer in PSHE and other lessons. Sometimes it’s due to latent homophobia, but often simple ignorance. I don’t mean ‘ignorance’ in a pejorative sense. Some teachers simply have no idea how to approach the subject and/or don’t know as much about it as they should.

      1. fo’ defs, sister.

  21. Great article, Olly. You’re completely right about the ‘macho’ atmosphere and the constant asserting of one’s heterosexuality. That’s the cause of so much homophobia in schools. It’s also linked to misogyny (if you’re a gay male, you’re ‘like a girl’ ie cr@p). Neither should be encouraged or tolerated in schools.

    One question occurred to me – do you not have any female teachers in the school? If you do, how do they feel about this ‘banter’?

    1. Jon Hancock 17 Jan 2013, 1:15am

      Approximately half of our teachers are female.

      I can say that Olly has massively inflated banter to the level where it is misogyny. There is not enough tension between female staff, or visiting students, and us boys to warrant Olly’s claims.

      1. I’m not sure you understand what “misogyny” means. Hatred towards women can appear in many different, but no less dangerous, forms (i.e. casual sexism, rape jokes, objectification, unequal treatment, etc.) And if you tell me none of that happens at an all-boys school, I’ll call you a liar!

  22. This is a great article. Olly is obviously a very intelligent young man and I sympathise with him, though in a different way, having been the ‘only boy in a private all-girls boarding school’ when I was growing up, and how my school basically conditioned the students to behave in the same, ‘prim and proper young lady’ way, from primary school age all the way up to 18 years old. It was very damaging for me, as a trans boy. And because I was different, they treated me like a ‘problem pupil’ and never even attempted to address why I felt or behaved the way I did.

  23. All sounds very similar to my own experience of girls’ public schools twenty years ago.

    I could tell some stories about the nonsense that went on… but I think I’d better not!

    Good for you, Olly. Hang in there. And thanks for being brave enough to share your story with us.

    Do make sure you and your friends get decent advice on safe sex.

    You’re absolutely right that schools are failing disgracefully on sex ed. Broad-ranging safe sex advice is not (just) a gay male issue – it is needed by students of all genders and orientations.

    Heterosexual teen boys are having anal sex and receiving fellatio etc. etc. – or at least they want to be! They, just like you, need to know about how to practice these safely. If there’s no sex advice covering these topics then all the boys at your school are being let down.

    But of course, statistically, it’s young gay men whose health is most likely to suffer because of the ignorance your school is perpetuating – so nothing is done.

  24. I’m from an Academy in North London and there is little done to stop homophobia. In fact, the only time, throughout my school career, that it was mentioned was when I came out. After that died down we went back to silence…

  25. James Patterson 10 Jan 2013, 4:34pm

    “How can we expect to do anything about the worrying rise in HIV diagnosis rates among young gay men, when from my experience, there exists not little, but zero homosexual sex education?”

    I think it is important for young gay men to realise that HIV is not confined to gay guys and girls and that the same routes of infection apply to them as the straight guys and girls and the routes of prevention are again the same. Any lessons therefore on HIV transmission are valid.

    1. True but they completely disregard anything that even relates to being non-hetrosexual. It leaves young gay men in a place where they have no information on how to care for themselves and understand what the different things they have to think about. It places young gay men with a lack of information that should have been given to them by their teachers.

  26. Ben Amponsah 10 Jan 2013, 5:35pm

    Fantastic article. Schools do need to raise their game which is why I’m so glad the LGB charity that I counsel at has a massive programme of reaching out to schools re homophobic bullying and the casual use of the word ‘gay’ to denote all things bad amongst young people. It’s the Lesbian and Gay Foundation: check em out

  27. Suddenly Last Bummer 10 Jan 2013, 5:45pm

    What did he think boarding school would be? A Bel Ami film with some Glee style hoedowns to alleviate the boredom? Pfft

  28. This isn’t true in all schools, I left school more than 4 years ago and it was brought up multiple times in both PSHE and Science when I was in year 9 and 11.

  29. I can completely sympathise with Olly. Coming from an all girls boarding school myself, the problems are very similar. However, at my school we had to hide our sexuality from anyone in a position of power in case we were suspended or expelled, following two of my closest friends suspension after house mistresses finding out they were gay and USING other boarders to ‘spy’ on them. It’s truly disgusting, discriminative and NEEDS to stop.

  30. Don’t worry, Olly, when you grow up you’ll be able to take advantage of all the privileges which a private education can buy you. I wonder if you’ve ever spared a thought for working class kids in equally if not more hostile environments but who haven’t even had a decent education to compensate. I’ll bet few of them have the connections to get an article published on a global website.

    1. When 20 kids gang up on you, perhaps at night in the dormitory when there really is nowhere to run to, a smash in the face and elsewhere hurts just as much whether it is from a working class fist or an upper class fist.

      Your comment is actually false, because when volunteering with a homeless charity a while ago, I came across kids from supposedly nice backgrounds too, who had nowhere else to go to but the streets. Perhaps you would also like to make your comment to them, in person, and have done with it? Where in this article did Oliver invite you to show sympathy for an LGBT person in a boarding school at the expense of at any other school?

      Oliver’s story is an important one, and I hope it mobilises other young people the inspiration, and motivation to speak out, wherever they are. And I hope Michael Gove reads this too.

      Oliver – why don’t you contact the ex-rugby player, Ben Cohen, and get him up to your school? Your head of games would probably jump at it…

    2. Oy, that’s unfair – it’s not his fault he’s not working-class. Focus on what he says in the article, and don’t pick on him for his socio-economic background because (inverted) snobbery doesn’t get us anywhere. If you can’t contribute to the discussion in a conducive manner, I suggest not contributing at all.

    3. And what?

      He’s talking about homophobia in his school. No gay person should face this – regardless of class. Being richer than most doesn’t make homophobia less painful or the impact less damaging

      Homophobia hurts all GBLT people. Don’t dismiss this poor kid’s pain because his parents are wealthy. I can’t imagine why you’d decide it’s more important to attack a 16 year old than listen to his story.

    4. Speaking as Olly’s brother:

      I can assure you he is more than aware of his privileged position. I went to a comprehensive school in Caerdydd (Cardiff), where for his recent announcement I’m glad my brother is not. He is very aware of the differences. I’d also remind you Ol hasn’t always been in this school, but previously attended a comprehensive in Casnewydd (Newport) as he mentions in his article. I worried, when he made his switch, that it would have an adverse affect on his character, but fortunately, I think it has actually made him more appreciative of what he has, where he was and where he comes from.

      Ours is a complicated family, before you go judging, mate. It is far from being ‘nuclear’ and our parents work very hard, long hours to make this just about possible. Olly recognises that and his results suggest he has justified it. Unlike many of his peers it’s been encouraging to see his progressive leftward lean since he’s been there. Yeah boy.

      1. Jon Hancock 16 Jan 2013, 8:07pm

        I also attended a comprehensive school in Newport before joining the same school as Olly, and I also appreciate what I’ve got, having won a scholarship and my parents being working-class.

        My family also has its bust-ups, and my parents work 5 days a week in order to support my sister and I through public school.

        However, I have never libelled an entire school, nor refused to accept anyone else’s opinion as equally valid as mine. I wonder if you can say the same for your brother?

        Alright boyo?

  31. Thanks for writing this thoughtful piece. I had the same experiences as a teenager in an all-girl’s boarding school. Everyone on the outside thought it would be an institution rife with lesbianism, but the opposite was actually true: everyone was so hyper-feminine and obsessed with boys that anyone who even remotely showed any signs of gynephilia, masculinity or even androgyny was immediately bullied. The teachers & housemistresses actually contributed to the bullying: I was once taken aside by a teacher after rumours had been going around me being gay and interrogated, her asking “you like boys, don’t you?”. That was in 2003, so I’m sad to hear that nothing has changed in the last decade. (For the record, I’m not even gay – I’m bisexual.)

    1. I thought for a minute you were at my school, but wrong generation. Nothing has changed since the 80s!

  32. This seems like one of those issues that is monolithic, but may come crashing down swiftly with a single crack.

    If one homosexual youngster in every class was out, as the statistics suggests that the average class would have at least one gay person, then I genuinely believe things would change. It’s the fact that there’s only a single out gay person in an entire school year quite often (and always the later ones). It’s really sad.

    Hopefully society will create a comfortable enough environment soon, so that there really can be ‘eyes/ears’ everywhere challenging the inaction of teachers and the abuse of peers. For such large buildings and institutions schools feel strangely ‘behind closed doors’ – nearly all social interaction is compartmentalised off in to little rooms and groups.

    I don’t blame a boy in this situation for not coming out and being an ambassador, when it’s still likely it wouldn’t encourage any other guys to come out just yet.

    We all have to make our own decisions.

  33. This is yet another reason to prohibit private schools and make all schooling state-run. Education is far too important a thing to make hostage to market forces – wealthy people should not be able to buy a better education for their children than less wealthy ones, it’s that simple. Everyone should be able to access the same opportunities. Once all the private schools are re-integrated into the regular system, and the elitism removed, they can be properly regulated for diversity and equality provision.

    1. Rhoderick Gates 12 Jan 2013, 3:43pm

      I agree. Education is a natural monopoly. Private schooling has inflated fees because of vertical costs that can’t be cut substantially.

    2. State schools spectacularly fail too – look at my comment above. If you went to a state school and was moderately successful and could afford to buy your child better opportunities would you not do it? I know I would and that is because parents want the best for their child.

      1. Rhoderick Gates 16 Jan 2013, 7:33am

        Private schools have more legal independence though, that’s my point.

        By nationalising the private sector it’d be easier to hold accountability. Including public finance that vanishes in only partly-accounted for budgets of private schools.

  34. My chap worked for a while in a 6th form college in Ealing, and his very limited experience of understanding what the homophobia levels were amongst the pupils there, in a mixed environment where the vast majority of kids were from India and Pakistan was: if you think it’s all getting better for kids, forget it.

    I get quite frustrated by friends who live in places like Brighton where it’s the norm for kids to be walked to school by either same sex parent – it might not be majority, but it’s basically seen as part of the furniture. Kids from an Asian or African background, particularly in areas where culturally, most folk who live there are similar have a *terrible* time. I mean, life changingly awful. There is no such thing as homosexuality, in several Middle-Eastern and Asian cultures, after all. I fear for those kids and their future happiness.

  35. A powerful article and very true. I do wonder if this erasure and homophobia is a thing of private all boys schools or just schools in general?

    My nieces and nephews (as reported particularly by one niece who has the courage of a lion and will question and challenge kids and teachers), going to comprehensives hear the same barage of homophobic language (which teachers ignore). No teacher has ever ever mentioned homosexuality to them – certainly not sex education

    Is this a private school problem? Or an education problem and our constant insistence that children be “protected” from GBLT people

  36. Darren Daly 11 Jan 2013, 12:49am

    It was exactly the same at my public all boys’ school. Invisibility often hurt more than prejudism. At least the bigots acknowledged that I existed.

  37. all fair and that BUT IN THE REAL WORLD OF THOSE WHO WENT TO NORMAL SCHOOL it was a meat grinder and to come out or even hint at sexuality made you easy meat. It isnt like Glee, even still in the closet my blood chills at the thought of comming out due to experiences at school, and i havnt even been called a f*g yet

  38. I didn’t actually come out but when some idiot tried to blackmail me I told him to tell everyone. I kept to myself worked hard and never denied my sexuality if I was asked but I never offered the information. I had more problems when I started going to gay bars. I

  39. Sadly this is far too true. I currently attend a mixed independent school in South Wales, and I rarely come across someone actually homophobic. However the “banter” is very much homophobic. It’s not meant but it hurts all the same. The teachers just ignore it. Once when I had been very annoyed I told the perp to leave me alone, and as a result received a detention.
    I’m sure it’s just as bad in state schools but the invisibility that’s forced in private schools is really something else.

    1. This sounds a lot like my experience of living with two laddish friends in my second year of university. Both were from the Brighton area and each had a gay or bi guy in their extended friendship group back home, but as soon as they got tipsy and returned from a club with some random mates, the atmosphere would get prickly over that kind of misogynous or homophobic ‘banter’. You know full well it’s not malicious but it does seem to be deeply ingrained in the private conversations of heterosexual guys. Whilst grateful it’s not a properly held conviction, and that they wouldn’t dream of saying such things publicly, it’s still disappointing that if a gay friend wasn’t in a room they probably wouldn’t temper their jokes at all.

  40. ..this topic infuriates me simply because it is so old and has existed for centuries. A all boys school, err? you don’t have to be an Einstein to realize what goes on between closed doors?? And which has been going on for ages. It is high time the Human Race especially PARENTS should be prepared and show courage by telling their boys what to expect and experience….

  41. Mr gay KILLER 11 Jan 2013, 7:45pm

    I think GAYS should be treated like ANIMALS coz they’re even worse!!!

    1. by your foul language that can also be smelt as well as read i conclude that since you cannot comprehend propperly a simple sentence you are the inbred spawn of some looney who buggered a heron. what a poof in the words of lord flashheart

    2. Speaking as Olly’s brother:

      You can FUCKKKKKK right off. I hope we meet one day, MATE. I really do. Perhaps my friend Mr. Severe pain will be kind enough to join us =D

  42. I remember now when i was in school one of my teachers did a lesson on homosexuality, i think before the end of section 28. I’ve suddenly got a new found respect for the man, who strangely enough was a devout christian and former priest.

  43. I recently left a private (though not boarding) Catholic school. It was a great school in most respects and I keep in touch with some teachers, but I have to say that their treatment of homosexuality was rather like that described in the article – it may as well not have existed. In GCSE Religious Studies we learned that the Catholic church opposes all sex outside marriage and that gay people apparently can’t get married, although we were never convincingly told why, but the issues of dealing with your sexuality and confronting homophobia wouldn’t have been touched with a barge pole by most, if not all, of the (predominantly Catholic) teachers, and there wasn’t even sex education for straight people let alone gay. Schools like this are letting their pupils down.

    1. If gay people could get married then presumably they would be allowed to have sex? perhaps thats why they are so vehemently against it.

      my friend tells me that she attended a catholic school and they didn’t give them any sex education at all! The closet they got to learning reproduction was plants in science.

      The result is someone at aged 21 who doesn’t understand how sex physically works, what contraception is or how it works or how STD or STIs are spread something we have had to teach her.

    2. Why should schools provide sex education? Ever heard of parents? Schools are here, or definitely were before 1944, to teach academic subjects only, not be substitute parents.

  44. Charlie Gibson 12 Jan 2013, 2:36pm

    A great article, but the issue i feel is not to do with the all boys school. I attended an all boys state school and found it highly inclusive and willing to discuss issues of sexuality. The problems lie in the Private education being allowed to pick and choose what they teach, very dangerous and fundamentally wrong

  45. If he doesn’t like it at private school why does he continue to pay ridiculous amounts of money to go there? I am gay and have recently finished comprehensive school and can honestly say that it was one of the most inclusive, supportive environments to go grow up gay. Honestly, what more sex ed does he need than ‘wear a condom’ to not contract HIV? It really angers me when whiny articles like this generalise and moan that gay people’s hands aren’t held all the way through school. I hate to use the words ‘man up’ but I feel they are necessary when we are living in a generation that is worlds apart from the one even our parents grew up in let alone our grandparents. Being gay IS acknowledged and even celebrated in the media, does this boy not watch any television? Yes, there is still more to be done in our society regarding gay rights but honestly, it really isn’t as bad as it is portrayed growing up gay in today’s schools.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. This article is absolutely not representative of all the experiences of lgbt youth. I’ve just finished secondary school and it was a very tolerant and inclusive environment. It was an all boys’ school, and there were a number of openly gay guys, the youngest being in year 10. The most popular guy in my year in sixth form was gay. It’s all too easy to say that homophobia and intolerance is rife when it isn’t. Yes, guys would tease guys for being gay, but it wasn’t malicious and it was all taken in good spirit – they support equality and we were all close friends – banter can exist in a way which is very different from bullying. Now I’m at university, being gay is regarded just like having green eyes. Ie. completely normal. I don’t know if I’ve just been lucky, but the point remains that things *have* changed in the last thirty years. Don’t think for a second that we’re not winning the fight towards equality, because we are.

      1. “This article is absolutely not representative of all the experiences of lgbt youth”.

        NO S_IT, SHERLOCK.

    2. Well said boys – it does all sound a bit “whiny”. You’d think we lived in the most repressive societies….

  46. Stephanie M. 12 Jan 2013, 2:53pm

    Content aside, a great disservice has been given to the author of this greatly important piece. If there were editors who reviewed this, as there no doubt were, why did none of them go through this piece and fix the mistakes? Why were there comma splices and run-on sentences? They could have been fixed with punctuation. What upsets me about that is the piece loses the credibility that it needs to work. The piece is bigger than the boy writing it. You shouldn’t emphasize that he is an amature, but help him look professional. It inevitably makes the author, the others who helped along the way, not to mention those who run the site look bad. If you want a larger audience – if you want this to go viral – you have to do better than that. Any person this went through before posting should be ashamed. Especially for what this – you – set out to do for the queer community. I don’t want to be represented in such a poor fashion. You need to do a lot better than that.

    1. On that topic, what on Earth is “an amature”? If people were prepared to pronounce the word correctly, maybe they’d start spelling it correctly.

    2. if you do edit it then it takes away the fact that it is his work and people will claim that he didn’t write it.

      1. Speaking as Olly’s brother:

        I am 23, I could not write that. My brothers a bit of a phenomenon when it comes to writing and your the one doing him a disservice. I’m sure any ‘mistakes’ on his part could be put down to the highly emotive personal subject about which he was writing.

  47. Shepherds to the rescue: The Shepherd’s Creed: All people deserve and are worthy of respect, compassion and equality. This is the one immutable truth, and I will do whatever is reasonable and within my power to realise this truth by my actions, words and behaviour, especially where respect, compassion and equality are lacking.

  48. “The Truth”? While I’m sure it’s true, it remains the experience of one boy at one school. Hardly a universal truth!

    And whilehe may belive there is universal homophobia and no homosexulity in boy’s boarding schools, there’s plenty of evidence (including volumes of autobiography) to dispute his views.

    Why encourage the ‘gay as victim’ mentality? Haven’t we moved on since 1967?

    1. Well said!

    2. I can support his case. I only recently left an all boys boarding school in the UK. In my five years there I knew five boys who were bullied out of the school for their perceived sexuality. I had a reverend who actively preached a ‘pray the gay away’ agenda. My one friend who was openly gay spent his last year (which was the one he came out in) locked in his bedroom unable to leave even to meals, which I had to take to him. There was a suicide attempt from a boy who couldn’t handle the abuse anymore. I came out to my close friends which resulted in a parent teacher meeting with all parents except my own to reassure them that I would not be placed in any position of power over their ‘vulnerable’ children and my room was moved to a place where there were no boys who were younger than me close by.
      What makes it worse is this mentality is not just held in place by the boys it is also maintained and encouraged by the teachers who actively ignore it and at times join in. So he is not lieing

  49. Drawing from personal experience, the first & most practical place to start is at the school administration. I went to a private all-boys school as well, and I was fortunate that my school was a tolerant, if not acceptant, institution. The teachers enforced a strict sense of fairness & family amongst all of us, and no hurtful comment, sexual or otherwise, went unpunished. We never had to fear being ourselves because putting down a schoolmate just wasn’t done. And this was all because of the teachers, the environment they cultured and the sort of behaviour they demanded from us. The true kicker is the fact that my school was a CHRISTIAN all-boys school, and NOT ONCE was it ever uttered to us that gays were abnormal or that God will not love us if we were gay. It starts with the teachers, to encourage acceptance and emphasize that different does not necessarily mean bad or wrong.

  50. A very well written and thoughtful article.

    I can say that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which seems (from other comments here) to be common to many independent boys schools was also very much in evidence at my former, all girls, school.

    Like some previous commenters, I would also like to name names. The Mary Erskine’s School for Girls, located in Edinburgh, claimed to encourage us all to develop to our fullest potential as individuals. That being said, it did not seem to occur to any of the staff planning the Personal and Social Education curriculum that any information about sexuality or gender variance could be of any relevance to their pupils.

  51. A perceptive, elegant, necessary piece. (Better written than most of the university essays I’ve been marking the last few days! And from a 16 year old, well…). More to the point, young people like Olly need to keep writing, keep talking, keep on being part of the change that we need in education, politics, the arts, business, law, sport, etc. Don’t let the privileged boys perpetuate their proud homophobia (and other casual, corrosive phobias). We need more of Olly’s calibre.

  52. I’m an year old boy also at a private all boy’s boarding school.
    I agree that as far as I’m aware not a single boy’s boarding school I know of thrives with latent homosexuality. No one I know has ever experimented with and I doubt ever will.
    However, I do think it’s a bit harsh to group all schools like mine and yours together in such a way. We learnt about protection for gay sex and *all* about AIDs in Biology and everybody knows the dangers. There is no air of secrecy around homosexuality.
    While I know of a lot of teasing and even bulling and abuse directed towards some boys upon coming out when they did so a few years ago, I wouldn’t say that’s anything to do with my school, that’s simply young straight teenage boys, they’re awful.
    And finally I would like to point out that while there isn’t a large amount of latent homosexuality, by now, everyone seems to be perfectly comfortable with their sexualities and so I would say there’s an air of slight homo-eroticism, not hatred.

  53. I went to a mixed grammar school 1999 – 2005 and had much the same experience as Olly describes. They were the years it definitely felt as if ‘gay’ became a synonym for something undesirable. The teachers did nothing to stop that behaviour. Sex education was minimal (if anything, we became experts on all the diseases you can catch through sex, rather than how to avoid them) and homosexuality was never mentioned.

    The part about “don’t ask, don’t tell” definitely rang a bell.

  54. This article is absolutely not representative of all the experiences of lgbt youth. I’ve just finished secondary school and it was a very tolerant and inclusive environment. It was an all boys’ school, and there were a number of openly gay guys, the youngest being in year 10. The most popular guy in my year in sixth form was gay. It’s all too easy to say that homophobia and intolerance is rife when it isn’t. Yes, guys would tease guys for being gay, but it wasn’t malicious and it was all taken in good spirit – they support equality and we were all close friends – banter can exist in a way which is very different from bullying. Now I’m at university, being gay is regarded just like having green eyes. Ie. completely normal. I don’t know if I’ve just been lucky, but the point remains that things *have* changed in the last thirty years. Don’t think for a second that we’re not winning the fight towards equality, because we are.

    1. The headline of the article has been chosen very carefully though, you must admit. He isn’t claiming to be an everyman, in an average situation. I think the ‘truth’ he’s trying to express is to debunk the impression that private single-gender schools are rife with homosexual actions and gossip.

      I’m glad you’ve experienced decent people and institutions, and I agree that things are changing, but if you are stuck at a boarding school with a thousand other confident/muscle-bound lads I can imagine the petty little comments start to add up in your mind, even if you’re never faced with someone who intends to punch your lights out. We all base our opinions upon our own experiences, and yours is relevant, but I doubt it is in the majority.

      I think we need to be careful in claiming too much progress when mental health issues in the gay youth of Britain are still horrendously common. Realism and pessimism are rather different stances.

    2. In contrast i think that your experience is the one that is not representative of LGBT youth.

      1. Open,40y gay guy working in pub in NE with local STR8 teenage males for 15y. I’d hoped Andrew’s experience was typical.I know the tenants while i’ve been there wud NOT be happy with any of their staff having damaging prejudice behaviour but its always been busy/lots of staff-so thats a good sample of teenage men ending up workin their.

        “being gay is regarded just like having green eyes” just describes my experience with them,whether i see them at or outside of work EVEN though it a rural community where small parts of the community are a bit backward cf with main culture.Even the couple of lads that had never come across homosexuality personally in their lives before were initially sometimes a bit jumpy but still NEVER less than respectful all the time)I’ve only had 1 minor misunderstanding the whole time.So many of these young men who,despite my age+sex,seem 2 have a bottomless desire 4 attention,gfs present or not,seem not that fussy these days where their admiration comes from!

  55. Very insightful, and to be honest I am relieved that there is someone else in a similar position to me. I go to a similar school as you, Monmouth School for Boys (perhaps you have heard of it), and I totally agree with you. I truly am thankful that there are people like you who are willing to stand up out of the crowd.

  56. Richard James 13 Jan 2013, 10:45pm

    This article has stemmed from the height of hypocrisy. This boy was sexually active with females just weeks ago and has received no persecution whatsoever for being homosexual. However, he claims to be so passionately dedicated to raising homosexual awareness due to his ‘horrific’ experiences. Olly Hudson sees homosexuality as a quick bid for attention and to post on here when he is simply using his sexuality for trivial social pursuits is simply quite audacious. It is pathetic that he has slandered the institution that has provided him with the first rate education that he will require to succeed in life (perhaps tabloid journalism as he certainly seems capable of deceiving readers).

    1. I thought the whole point he is not outing himself as he considers the prejudice/price in such environments 2 hi-he doesn’t actually name the school therefore its not slander+U can only make INFERENCE(even if they’ve used his real name,do U know 4 CERTAIN there is only ONE 16 yo Olly Hudson currently residing in the UK)ironically R U not the1 who is guilty of slandering Mr. Hudson from this comment?

      My mind also questions why U ignore the point of his article,since U seem2know so much about his school WHY NOT inform us of its equality when it comes to informing+supporting/protecting gay men against prejudice as wud be morally expected in any body in our current SCIENCE created civilization, that MUST adhere to scientific knowledge thus evolution thus the explanation for its natural(selection)presence in our population?U cud instead remove every scientific method derived info/knowledge used in your establishment but then it wud cease 2 exist(+ yself if w.medicine aided your survival)

    2. You could be telling the truth, or you could not.

      Either way as a 21 year old I don’t particularly recognise it as being common for someone of 16 years of age to feel, and convey, the content that constitutes the final sentence of your comment.

      Your glowing assessment of the illustrious institution of which you must also be somewhat associated with, alongside your decision to name him as ‘this boy’, and your choice of the phrase ‘trivial social pursuits’ rather than something more simplistic…………..all suggest that you are perhaps an aged member of staff at this school?

      Indeed, I know even fewer 16 year olds who would write ‘sexually active’ rather than ‘fooling around’, or who seem so concerned about slander and sneer at the future job opportunities of their peers.

      I’d counter your argument that he may be bisexual or curious. Either way I would be gobsmacked if a heterosexual male had written this, because it is an experience that is very difficult to imitate, even in text.

    3. Speaking as Olly’s comprehensive schooled brother:

      I can’t claim to know all the details of my brothers personal life. We generally respect one another’s privacy. But whether or not he only recently made this announcement, or had recently been with girls can be put down to a bit of experimenting surely.

      Knowing him far better than you I can be assured this was no decision my brother made lightly or without a great deal of consideration and probably I’d think over the past couple of years or so; that he has been trying to come to terms with his identity.

      Also you do sound like a Teacher.

  57. Franky Jones 14 Jan 2013, 2:06pm

    I also go to the school on question and I am not homophobic in anyway. I believe that we should not differentiate between sexual orientation simply allowing people to do what ever makes them happy without putting a label on it.

    I do not know the Mr Hudson very well or if he’s been through any abuse. However I very much doubt that the vast majority of lads have said anything to him about it at all. Instead simply accepting his ‘coming out’ without making to much fuss about it. This is why I find it extremely offensive that I have been labeled a “misogynist” a “homophobe” and an “ape” I definitely can not be labeled any of these things and it seems to suggest that Mr Hudson some how views himself as superior to the rest of us “apes”.

  58. Franky Jones 14 Jan 2013, 2:07pm

    I am also disgusted in the vile manner in which the article was written. Mr Hudson didn’t confront those who were supposedly picking on him. But instead went to a separate website generally only visited by people who are gay to write about them behind their backs. Here he could be certain that the majority of readers would support his case. It only came out into the limelight after Stephen Fry tweeted the article.

    All in all we can be sure that Mr Hudson’s situation is definitely going to worsen not because he is gay. But because he has managed to collectively insult 800 people which he encounters on a daily basis.

    Good luck.

    1. i think we’ll take it at face value that you another irate chummy-boy from the school. way to spend daddy’s dough, not to mention, your afternoon! go you.

    2. Speaking as Olly’s brother:

      Awryt there Franky boyyy? I never went to your school, I was at a comprehensive in Cardiff, and am thankful I was. Even with hindsight, I would never want to go to a school with you or people like you, my brother not included. When I left school and went to university I had a tough time trying to study and live an environment completely dominated by this LAD culture my brother criticises. I went to uni in England, but really there innt much difference between the attitudes of english private school kids and the ones in the very very few welsh ones, like yours. There’s a reason we don’t have many private schools in Wales; it innt exactly fitting of our culture.

      Why the feck would my brother want to immediately confront anyone who he had a problem with. Hardly the best people to come out to? In time, perhaps he will, and I wish him the best there. Whilst some of the language might be slightly provocative, I doubt it compares to anything you’ve ever said…

      1. …continued…

        “Apes”; hardly the worst word to cross a classroom!! But pretty accurate a description from what I saw first hand in uni. In any case, its ridiculous to suggest my brother was deliberately hoping to cause you insult and pain. I’m so so sorry your feelings have been offended, pay a visit to yo private gp and go cry them a feckin river instead of complaining on a site that was never even intended for your eyes.

        Nice threat at the end there by the way, MATE.

        Should my brother face the “situation” you allude to, I may feel obliged to readdress your current situation…

        Awryt champ?

        1. Jon Hancock 16 Jan 2013, 8:16pm

          Craig J,

          Lose the “Speaking as Olly’s brother” line, it makes you seem even more arrogant than he is.

          I am Welsh through and through, and my dad and grandad went to grammar and public schools, they do fit into my culture, though maybe not yours. Also, lose the chip on your shoulder.


          Just because someone is more articulate than you, they are not necessarily a teacher.

      2. harDerBOiz2k12+1 17 Jan 2013, 2:48pm

        leaveityeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh gayzoooooo

    3. Frankie, Where in the text did Olly say that any of you were picking n him specifically? You don’t understand that you all, collectively, created the environment where it was considered normal to assume everyone is straight, and where it is normal to ridicule gay people for no other reason than the way they are. Do you not suppose that such an environment would be just slightly unpleasant, oppressive for someone whomis gay? That is not to say you or anyone is specifically to blame; but a casual remark demeaning gay people might seem normal and forgettable. You may think his letter to be an over-reaction. But to a gay person, having to live, sleep, shower and study with you 24/7, the risk of coming out could be the difference between acceptance and a lynch mob. Try to see things in the shoes of the minority. It is not such a pleasant place to be. Ask yourself, what could you have done to show more reassurance, so that this letter didn’t have to be written in the first place?

  59. Zack McNaught 14 Jan 2013, 2:34pm

    Great article, and one to which I can relate. The all boys independent I attended was a cauldron for the brewing of homophobic sentiments. I was astonished, having lived in a small village, and having no internet at that time, to discover when I reached university just how liberal (relatively!) things were in the state school environment for gay kids. The merest hint of homosexuality at my school led to instant social ‘disgrace’, for want of a better term. The actual reality, as I was only to discover many years later, was that – unlike the situation Oliver finds himself in – homosexuality was actually rife in my school, but in small, unaware groups of two or three boys, keeping themselves to themselves. I had one partner in my whole time there, but could have had many more. One of the elements which I strongly believe would have helped would have been a female element to diffuse the testosterone. I now advocate for mixed gender schooling only.

  60. I know Ollie as he attends my school. He came as a struggling C grade student from a comprehensive and in 2 years became a straight A* pupil at GCSE. He has been happy and popular here and if he has felt at all oppressed or bullied he has, as far as I am aware, made no complaints. It is sad that on the week that he “came out” he also decided to libel both the staff and boys of his school as homophobic apes. To imply that his teachers are partly responsible for HIV deaths is a stunning attack. One assumes he thought he would get away with it because no one would see it. Unfortunately Stephen Fry scuppered that for him by tweeting the article. He has probably alienated himself from the bulk of the school who otherwise thought well of him. That it would play well with the gay community and was good English practice was probably the only motive for his piece.
    Very sad and very unnecessary.

    1. I’m afraid that your experience and perception of your colleagues and the students you teach may be somewhat disconnected from the reality on the ground. Yes, Olly may be “popular and happy” in your eyes, but teachers can be and are remarkably blind when it comes to students’ happiness, as well as how they’re perceived by their peers. You also can’t in any way speak to the internal experience of homophobia at public school, which, from both ample personal experience and anecdotal accounts of many people I know is often utterly vile and extremely damaging (suicide attempts, self-harm, and depression, among other things). You’ll notice that Olly doesn’t claim to have been bullied himself, only speaking to the general atmosphere of homophobia and misogyny at his school.

      You have a problem, and you’re derelict in your duty of pastoral care by not acknowledging it. Instead, you become defensive, cry libel, and go looking for ulterior motives on the author’s part.

      1. Very well said Olly.

        I am a political speech-writer who is paid to rip apart and reconstruct text on a daily basis, and I’d be pretty awful at my job if I couldn’t have a decent guess at visualising who has written a certain stanza of content . e.g. their income, their age etc etc. because people give away so much info when they give you a glimpse into their priorities. In this case as you say it’s ‘defensive, libel’-driven and with a strangely omnipotent promise that homophobia isn’t an issue in the school in question.

        I sadly have to say that although there have been three or four comments on this article from separate people purporting to know the writer, I would stake a large bet that it is two different individuals at maximum, unlikely to be current pupils of Hudson’s age. They’ve all been a bit shrill and overly-angry for my liking. The school is anonymous, the writer is practically anonymous, I don’t understand why they’ve all suddenly appeared now to express outrage.

    2. Fellow Pupil 16 Jan 2013, 6:12pm

      As a fellow pupil I think it’s important to clarify one or two things. The issue isn’t with Olly as a victimized individual (you’ll notice that he doesn’t claim to be one); what’s important about this article is that it differentiates between traditional bullying and the less obvious climate that makes it difficult for gay people. This is something that’s more difficult for teachers to see; the “banter” that can make it difficult to express themselves in a way that doesn’t conform. The casual use of “gay” and “fag” isn’t stamped out at the beginning, so it continues. We aren’t taught explicitly that homosexual relationships are as valid, and while it’s a minority that that affects, it’s the minority who need that reassurance most. Olly hasn’t alienated himself and the majority have been supportive, but there is a dominant, aggressive minority allowed to abuse him and others, who set an unpleasant tone for the rest of the school.

    3. Speaking as Olly’s brother:

      What a coincidence! I know Olly too!!! But wait, if you really knew my brother surely you’d know he perfers an lly spelling over the llie, am I right?

      It’s difficult to read negative comments written about my brother, but it is even more difficult to read blatant feckin lies! “Came as a STRUGGLING C grade student from a comprehensive…”

      Wow, just wow, I mean, your trying to tell me, you think you know more about my brother’s academic achievements prior to going to your school, than me? He’s completely blown out the water anything I achieved academically in my own comprehensive school (and I wasn’t a dullass!) and was doing that long before he ever left his first school.

      I can accept some of the language you quote is a little provocative, but he never would have expected you to be reading Pink News now would he? In any case, knowing him better than you as I do, I’d put that more down to the nature of the very personal and highly emotive case on which…

      1. …continued…

        he was writing. Sad? It is a sad situation, unnecesary?? Mr. Angry, meet Mr. soonaspopacapinyoassaslookatewe!

        Later clart,

        P.S. Well said that “Fellow Pupil”.

      2. Jon Hancock 16 Jan 2013, 7:15pm

        Craig J,

        If he didn’t expect us to be reading Pink News then he clearly wished to go behind our backs.

        I haven’t always agreed with Olly but I would have defended him to the last if he named those who he felt were behaving in a “homophobic, inane, misogynistic” manner.

        As it is, all he has managed to do is do irreversible harm to his reputation and to his teachers’ view of him, many of whom he has libelled as ignoring or condoning homophobia.

        1. My brother used his name, I’ve used mine, maybe it’s time you used yours if you have that much of a problem with the article, so you can raise it with me?

          1. Jon Hancock 16 Jan 2013, 10:20pm


            I don’t think I will.

          2. Well you’re a coward

          3. Jon Hancock 16 Jan 2013, 10:32pm

            How dare you call me a coward, the boy who libels and defames his friends, schoolmates, teachers and school rather than talking to anyone about how he feels.

            I think you should at least have told the school if you were feeling this way.

            Your article can only have downsides for you in the long term.

        2. Sorry but until you name yourself, don’t expect me to respond to your arguments.

      3. Craig, I can understand you defending your brother but to slam an entire organisation behind their backs and demonise his fellow pupils and teachers (who would have otherwise been in ignorance and unable to defend themselves) to many thousands of readers on the internet was an arrogant and immature act. How would you feel if one of your friends or work mates was posting things about you online while smiling to your face? I say again, it was clear he thought no one from school would find out.

        Nobody disputes your brother’s intelligence but his wisdom and character are certainly open to question and I stand by my original post.

        1. Olly Hudson 16 Jan 2013, 11:15pm

          Consider my actions what you will, but I like to think this will lead to a whole lot of good for the gay population of our school. I know you seem to think I’ve alienated myself from the entire school, though responses from my peers and members of staff have been overwhelmingly positive, quite touchingly so. Many agree that I voiced what needed to be said, and if your view of me, or the view of a couple of boys diminishes as a result, well, so be it, that’s a price I’m willing to pay for making a stand on this. The responses that I’ve received from people in the school, have indicated that progress is going to be made, in terms of bringing in outside speakers to talk about homophobia in schools for starters. Over the past two days, I’ve had people use ‘gay’ as a slander in front of me, doing so unthinkingly. That , for me, justifies everything about my piece.

  61. This is genuinely one of the whiniest articles I’ve read on this site in a long long time. This young man has all the privileges of being a middle class man who has benefitted from a private school education, and he is complaining because nobody has taught him how to put on a condom?

    Sex education in the uk ranges from terrible to ok in the UK, but given that this boy has access to the internet, surely he can take some respinsibility (at 16) to do his own research.

    Not to mention that it is insulting the vast swathes of teens across this country and the globe who don’t have access to good mainstream education, regardless of pshce provision, and who also dont have reliable internet connection.

    Basically, this article screams of poor little rich white cis boy…get over yourself.

    1. You disgusting excuse for a human being.

      This is not about class or money. Whatever your hangups happen to be, maybe you could put them aside for a moment and think about the youngster in pain with no one to turn to?

    2. Speaking as Olly’s brother, I can tell you he is no whining little rich kid. If you feel qualified to talk about our family’s financial situation then carry on, be my guest, mate. My brother can be opinionated and at times, I guess that pisses people off but I doubt he would be doing as well as he is without being so and I’m proud of him for having had the courage to say what he has. I didn’t go to a private school, and in truth I’m really not a fan that he attends one but I can assure you it has far more to do than with strictly financial reasons he goes there.

  62. Anonmymous 14 Jan 2013, 8:58pm

    Being a bisexual in your year, i do agree with much of this, paticularly regarding “banter.” Although much of it isn’t intentional ( i think and hope) people just don’t seem to realise how offensive they are sometimes, although they can often be forgiven for this, seeing as sometimes i am amazed many of them can string coherent sentences together
    I don’t know if you had it but in 4th form, there was a brief discussion of homosexuality as part of the all encompassing banner of “relationships” and while of course this is good i still agree that there is little discussion of the topic on any level, and though i am fairly certain it is just inate apathy towards the subject rather than deliberate avoidance, this still doesn’t make it acceptable. In my time at the school i have heard one teacher speak out about people’s attitudes, namely in the common use of “banter” involving rowers being automatically gay.
    Take heart, you aren’t alone

    1. Also, anonymous not anonmymous, whoops

  63. I went to a girls’ boarding school, and the exact same issues existed in reverse – i.e. girls doing their best to be hetero feminine and any hint of lesbianism was squashed. I fully understand where he is coming from.

  64. you are my hero in colombia we have to figth with our souls, congrats

  65. Olly Keane 15 Jan 2013, 1:16am

    Having experienced a very similar situation when I was at Winchester a few years ago, I wholeheartedly agree with Olly Hudson here.

    There is a misogynistic and homophobic atmosphere prevalent throughout public schools, and the tendency of staff and governors of those schools is to dismiss it as an irrelevance. I was driven to the point of a nervous breakdown, deep depression, and – very nearly – suicide by years of awful abuse at the hands of my peers, which the school (except for my housemaster, who was a wonderful, caring man) dismissed entirely. The school psychiatrist told me not to think about men or watch gay porn because it would “encourage homosexual desires”, and the headmaster considered me to be at fault for being who and what I am. It’s deeply scarring, even if it isn’t as severe as it was for me. By simply going on the defensive rather than actually dealing with the problems they have, public schools are failing in their duty of care.

  66. ” … they go over and above to assert their masculinity to see whose ‘banter’ can descend to the deepest depths of homophobic, inane, misogynistic abuse.”
    Olly. Don’t you get it? The reason they are homophobic is ‘projection’. They project outwardly that which they fear most in themselves:- same-sex attraction. In my experience, it’s a conclusive case of “the bigger the homophobe, the bigger the closet gay”.

    1. “The bigger the front, the bigger the back”.

  67. Brilliant article and well-written. I experienced exactly the same environment at an all boys private school in Leeds, which I left eleven years ago.
    A couple of years after leaving, I discussed with the headmaster my experiences and highlighted the areas of change I felt were needed (sex education, philosophy, unbiased councillors, standard policy for treatment of gay pupils within the teaching faculty).

    They introduced a new subject in PSE under an ‘Alternate Lifestyles’ module. Hardly what I expected.

    When I challenged him he explained that he had to be careful of upsetting the {paying} parents and their views. No doubt it all comes down to money should parents decide the school’s policies are inappropriate. Anything that is a risk to the number of pupils and turnover has to be limited…

    Perhaps the government should enforce tougher pro-LGBT legislation within private school as well as state schools when it comes to such matters.

    1. Edwin J. Jaufmann, Jr. 15 Jan 2013, 7:15pm

      As an American, it appears strange that a country that is close to passing Marriage Equality doesn’t have anti-discrimination laws as it concerns sexual orientation/identity. Can you help me understand that?

      1. We do, we have a raft of anti-discrimination legislation that has a reasonable success rate of resulting in a prosecution. However, like most countries we pander to the traditional school curriculum and we allow for many institutions to do as they please.

        Our legislation is definitely more culturally orientated toward the workplace and the street, than the classroom.

  68. Edwin J. Jaufmann, Jr. 15 Jan 2013, 5:28pm

    The key here *is* visibility. Coming out, as hard as it is, needs to start somewhere. I understand the author feels unsafe. I would feel unsafe in that environment. But, to feel safe, he needs to start somewhere; parents, teachers, headmaster, but somewhere.

    I would suggest coming out to your parents. In that way, should they be supportive, they could help you with the Headmaster of your school. Sensitivity training in this day and age would not be an unusual way to fight this issue. With marriage equality on the horizon in the UK, asking for abuse to be stopped should be a no-brainer.


  70. Jon Hancock 16 Jan 2013, 7:09pm

    I have known Oliver Hudson for a long time and I wish to challenge some of his points. He claims that there is no support for the gay pupils at our school. I would point him towards our excellent Child Protection Services, who managed to prevent me from one of the worst decisions of my life. His claims that we loathe all gay boys on principle is nonsese. Since he came out, Olly has received nothing but respect for his decision. However, since he published this article before he came out, it is clear that this was as an insurance policy in case he was found out, as he has been.

    Olly has routinely bullied his way through any intellectual opposition at our school, calling one boy a fascist as he did not agree with one of his left-wing views.

    Oliver Hudson has defamed our school mates, many of whom respected him for his work, our teachers, and our school itself. I for one will oppose him and any other attempts he makes to libel my friends and I.

    1. And for goodness sake, ‘libel’? You realise that only applies if somebody is named and targeted specifically… Please don’t deny a culture of homophobia at the school. Count how many times you hear ‘gay’ as a slander tomorrow. Then reconsider.

      1. Jon Hancock 17 Jan 2013, 1:10am

        Given that anyone can find what school you go to on Facebook or Twitter, then you are technically committing libel against an extremely venerable and repected institution.

        You should be very careful, as you are defaming a school which, quite frankly, is nowhere near as bad as you make out.

        You should learn to differentiate between banter and abuse. Grow a thicker skin and accept that most of it is not meant in any hurtful way.

        1. You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Libel is a legal issue, you can’t stand up in a court of law and suggest that I’ve committed libel, so why try and apply the same tactics here? Disappointed that you didn’t have the courage to speak to me today.

    2. Olly Hudson 16 Jan 2013, 10:51pm

      As you have such an issue with this, I would really appreciate it if you spoke to me personally tomorrow, so you can tell me what it is that has so offended you. Maybe I can clear things up for you. I don’t really have a tremendous amount of respect for this whole anonymity thing, what do you hope to achieve by it? It is cowardly, and suggests you don’t really have the courage of your convictions, so I’ll chat to you tomorrow, face to face, doesn’t bother me…

      1. Olly, you are hardly one to speak of having the courage of your convictions. You slag off your entire school on the internet behind their backs and then remain at the school despite stating that you regret going there and generally despise the apes you have to share a class room with. If you had any guts you’d re-publish your article in the school newspaper and enrol in the nearest comp the same day.

        1. olly Hudson 16 Jan 2013, 11:17pm

          umm who’s the one using his name here? enough said…

          1. Jon Hancock 17 Jan 2013, 1:01am

            Oh, so I don’t have the courage of my convictions?

            Why don’t you follow up on your arguments and leave the school you have always regretted attending to us “apes” and join the far more liberal society at the local comp.

            Oh, and if you don’t have a problem with me confronting you, why didn’t you say this to our faces, rather than going behind our backs in such a cowardly way, in the hope that no-one would find out or be offended.

  71. I also attend the same school as Olly, and there are some points I think need addressing. These are primarily those made by others at our school.

    The first is regarding those who are supposedly “upset” or “hugely offended” by being “labelled” an ape or a mysoginost. Personally I agree with what Olly has written, however, note needs to be taken of the fact that this is clearly an article written in general terms. There are undoubtedly those who are not at the same level of the people referred to by this comment.

    The second point is regarding the so called “abuse” that Olly is said to have mentioned. Those who have actually read the article will know that he creates a hypothetical situation to try and show how he imagined the act of coming out to a full classroom of the more ape-like students. This is not a claim of abuse, nor is there any such claim in the whole article.

    1. (cont) I think it also important to point out to those who seem incapable of realising such, that this is clearly only an article regarding Olly’s own experiences. To try to get his point across more emphatically, he employs some clever persuasive writing techniques. This include hyperbole, or exaggeration. Unfortunately, some readers seem unable to detect this and appear determined to scream as loudly as possible that he is wrong. I imagine this is also part of the cause of the huge controversy this article has created at school. It is mostly based on hearsay and the views of those who have refused to listen to Olly’s views, passed from mouth to mouth and twisted into feeble cries of, “we’re not apes! How dare he say that!” And quite frankly, I find that sad.

  72. john jones 17 Jan 2013, 1:07am

    not much has changed in school then, rest assured it has changed a lot in the wider world once you leave. I have realised over time though that most men will banter in this way and it doesn’t really mean much about gays its more about their hetero position in the female hunting pack! when I tell people I am gay they are a bit more careful to be respectful around me with this type of talk, not that I care these days…heard it all before ! Most people don’t care and admire you for standing up and being counted in a way or are interested in you. The trouble is that mainstream society still expresses a stereotype that is negative but its becoming so out of date now.

  73. Until relevantly recently I was a boarder at the sister school of the aforementioned boy’s school. I do not know from personal experience of the particularities of the boys school but from my own experience I know the situation at my school was very similar to what Olly has written. The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ attitude portrayed by both teachers and students makes it incredibly difficult to even consider coming out. I know of a number of girls who had found it impossible to come out while at school due to the fact that homosexuality seen as a taboo and is ‘unspeakable’. Having known gay pupils at both schools and having recently come out myself I would wholly agree with Olly and applaud his article. From talking to gay men and women from different backgrounds there is a marked similarity between the experiences of those at independent schools. I am particularly horrified by the comments by fellow pupils and teachers as it just shows exactly the kind of attitude that Olly is facing.

  74. I’m sorry to hear about Olly’s unite negative experience at a boy’s boarding school. I teach at a boy’s boarding school and I must say that, whilst the younger boys can be homophobic, we do not shy away from teaching about homophobia and homosexuality. We have had many famous gay figures come and speak at the school and, recently, the students staged a production of the Laramie Project, the play about the murder of Matthew Shepard. It’s a pity that the staff at Olly’s school don’t more actively tackle homophobia.

  75. Bernard Abbott 19 Jan 2013, 1:11pm

    If you don’t like the way the world is, Olly, then you need to change it. You have made a good start with this article, but you need to follow it up by coming out at school. You can expect a bit of hassle for a while, but it won’t last (so long as you handle it sensibly). They will soon get used to the idea, and it will then just become a non-issue for most of them. I wasn’t out at 16, but I have been completely out since I was 20 – and that was back in 1974 – so I know what I am talking about.

  76. Jean-Pierre 20 Jan 2013, 7:58am

    Dear Olly,

    I can see from your writing that you are a very smart young man.

    I feel deeply for your painful experience.

    I remember growing up in a very liberal “Island” in New York City in the 70’s where I could say anything I wanted to.

    I also remember being a teacher in the last decade, and how homosexuality was such an unwelcome subject for my sixth graders.

    I hope you will be able to focus on your grades, your education, your finding a job goal, and obtaining a job.

    With the internet, I hope you will be able to find friendship and companionship.

    At age 16 life seems very hard.

    But if you will be able to make your own living, life will become much better.

  77. tracklayer 20 Jan 2013, 2:32pm

    This certainly was not my experience at a boarding school. in the 1960s. I was gay and was having sex, it could not be called love, daily. Getting your rocks off was fine no one seemed to care provided you were discreet. I can only remember a couple of minor problems and these were never serious. Provided you were not camp or overtly gay I guess you could get away with it. Certainly I am very adept at silent sex. Sharing a dorm with 40 other boys made it edgy.
    I do wonder what would have happened if I had “come out”. Whilst I consider it enviable that people are now able to come out with a degree of confidence, I do wonder if this act in itself is raising new problems. The period was pre-AIDS and life was rather less judgemental. I wonder if this eased the situation. I really hope Ollie finds out as I have that life gets better. I have a long term partner, a civil partnership and may be marriage in the future. It takes time for change.

    1. Same school 28 Jan 2013, 11:45pm

      I have to say, attending both the same shool and being openly gay, like the writer, I find his comments to be sweeping and derogatory to many of my peers. This article has, if anything, done damage to the openly accepted and kind mood felt by many who now feel on egg shells around the gay dude. I find his comments to be offensive to part of a society that I am a part of and honestly believe his views to be the meet attention seeking a lonely boy

  78. But dude you look so straight. You look straighter than me and I’m not gay.

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