I never fitted in with the other kids at school. I had been always the loner with just a few friends who had been the other outcasts. As I acquired older this steadily transformed from being overlooked to being bullied. In those days (early 1970s) institutions didn’t take bullying as significantly as they are doing now, so that it was allowed to continue. It seriously affected my school work, and my self-confidence was nonexistent.
Things came to a head after my sister was born while i was 8. Mum was experiencing post-natal unhappiness which affected me. The nurse who visited mum also spent some time with me and realised that things weren’t right. I really believe she did a great deal of probing at school etc. to find out what was taking place, and she got the right people involved. She is one of those people who occurred to come into my life at the right time and who I owe a great deal of thanks – yet I cannot even remember her name.
I was described a child psychologist who I visited every couple of weeks. He asked me all sorts of stuff that i didn’t understand and don’t keep in mind, then spent age range speaking with mum and dad (while I sat uninterested in the waiting room).
The psychologist sent me to a place called Bursledon Hospital. This is to assess me from my typical college and home etc. I remember hardly any about the area (I think my brain has blanked it out), although I understand it was the worst a month of my entire life. I had been bullied continuously and got blamed for other kids’ bad behavior.
One of the better remembrances from that place was your day that another young man around my age and me made a decision to play remove texas holdem under his bed. We didn’t learn how to play texas holdem so performed pontoon. Whoever was nude first was likely to run around the ward, but we were both too chicken for your, so we just finished up both naked under the bed, fiddling with each other. I had always liked watching the guys changing for going swimming at school. But this is the first time I had formed got to touch one and for him to touch me.
As a result of Bursledon, it was decided that I’d not be able to deal with a standard high school which I should go to Buckland School, a “special needs” boarding school for “emotionally disturbed” boys. I started there after i was 11.
Buckland was for guys only and had about 50 pupils. This place do me a lot of good. Classes were typically 10 young boys and a lot of the work was specific rather than group. I were able to leave with some skills, though nothing at all to get excited about.
Within a few weeks of starting I used to be approached by one of the older kids to help along with his “tests” for which payment would be some packets of sweets. The tests, as you probably guessed, were sexual. Nothing too included, hands and dental both ways. This was the very first time I put seen someone cum though, which fascinated me. I enjoyed the “experiments” and was pleased to continue without the payment. In credited course I had been doing similar things with other guys. I also discovered which other kids nearer my own age were involved, and got associated with them too.
This type of thing appeared to be quite prevalent there. I assume with 50 teenage males with raging hormones together and no access to women, it’s unavoidable if unchecked. About half the boys there were involved. For the majority of them it was probably just teenage messing around. It was more than that to me though. It was something I appeared forwards to and dreamed about. Even though, I convinced myself that it was only a phase.
I began realising that maybe it wasn’t a stage a couple weeks before I left, after i knew that the end of a time was getting close to. I understood that a similar thing wouldn’t happen outside college, and I didn’t know very well what I would do as females didn’t attract me. I still thought that if I do get a partner everything would be Alright though.
The Son at the Railway Station
I got employment at the executive company where my father worked. I joined as an apprentice, spending the first yr in the apprentice training centre then three years in my own chosen division (which for me was the electronics department).
I spent four days each week at the job and one at university. College was a teach journey away. Weekly at the train station, waiting for the teach before mine, were several kids in college uniform. One young man in that group really caught my vision. He was cute and experienced a great smile. He was probably about 15. Of course he didn’t notice me as he was with his friends, but I observed him, viewed him and dreamt about him. I used to get to the station previously deliberately therefore i could lust over him for much longer.
This was my first true realisation that I must say i was gay. Previously I have been excusing it as a stage, however, not now. I realised which i was not interested in any of the ladies, but was thinking about this one guy. So I had to be… gay. I still tried to deny it and suppress it though.
In those days (1980) the age of consent for gay sex in the UK was 21, which seems an eternity away when you are 16. THE UNITED KINGDOM was much less acknowledging of gays back then, with a great deal of negative and unpleasant press, the police targeting gays for no good reason, no positive homosexual role-models etc. Identical rights legislation didn’t include sexuality. So as a teenager departing school in those days and beginning to realise that I might be gay, it was not a good proposition.
Back at the apprentice training centre, things were back almost like they were at junior college, beside me being the target for bullying. It was much less bad as at school, but it was bad enough to impact my work.
Again the situation was kept by one particular people who will go well beyond what is required, and would you care. In cases like this it was Alan Smith, the apprentice training manager. He could so easily have dismissed me from the business as unsuitable. But he didn’t. Instead he arranged for me to work in other departments, including the electronics department, to observe how I got on there. From the other lads I did well, therefore i was allowed to continue my apprenticeship.
I then had to come back to working out centre and end my first season. In my absence another lad called Matthew experienced become the target for the bullying. We often went off together through the breaks to avoid this, and sat on the lawn bank looking over the staff car park, out of sight.
During those breaks on the turf loan company, we somehow ended up with our hands inside each other’s overalls. I don’t understand how it began or why, since he was straight and acquired a girlfriend. I used to be somewhat attracted to him, though not to the level of this lad at the railway place. It was more of a physical rather than psychological thing.
Visiting Buckland School
I went back to visit Buckland School many times once i was about 18 or 19. I’ve no idea why. I believe it was because I sensed relatively lost and alone in “adult” life and was trying to recapture or recreate my past. It was an awful idea. I was no more a youngster there, and was not mature as a grown-up either, therefore i was totally out of place.
On one visit I had been sitting in the common room near the top of one of the dormitories. Some children were already in their pyjamas plus some just experienced towels round their waists and were waiting their change for the shower. I had been trying to keep my eye on it therefore i wouldn’t be observed looking, when this gorgeous 14 or 15 calendar year old strolled from the shower, through the common room and in to the dormitory, stark nude, with just his towel thrown over his make!! I am hoping I wasn’t staring then – but I understand my eye adopted him, even although dormitory entrance was behind me…
The urge to check out him in to the dormitory and do something unmentionable was extremely strong. I had never felt anything like this before, and panicked. I made my excuses and remaining. I just wished to be from there, and needed to think. That was my last visit. At that time I still hadn’t accepted my sexuality at all. I was scared and confused in what I felt then. And I had been scared that I had experienced such a solid urge to hurt someone so much younger just for sexual gratification. I think maybe this occurrence set me back a bit, it enforced the view in my mind at the time that being homosexual was somehow “wrong”.
Another Job and Another Crush
I remained at the anatomist company for a couple of years after my apprenticeship ended, but because the website was being closed I got employment at a local sea instruments company. This was while i was about 24. An extremely sexy tanned blond man started working for the company, in the same division as me. He was about 20 and I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. We sometimes had to go and work off-site collectively too (installing devices on yachts). It had been summer and he’d wear shorts and t-shirt, and frequently removed the t-shirt. My creativity is at overdrive, but I still didn’t have the nerve to do or say anything.
Moving to Hereford
My entire life was going nowhere. I had fashioned get involved briefly with various things, medical center radio, the neighborhood cinema club, beginner dramatics etc – but nothing really kept my attention for long. I had developed a couple of brief girlfriends but cannot get sexually interested.
The people who I caused in the electronics department at the engineering company explained they were establishing their own company in Hereford, and offered me a job. The amount of money was good, and house prices in the region were more reasonable. It had been the new-start I needed, and I grabbed it!
Needs to Come Out
Being by myself I had formed time to believe. I had been 26 which whole “homosexual thing” acquired reached the stage where I had fashioned to do something positive about it.
Not knowing where to turn, I wrote to a newspaper agony aunt. I received a fairly feeble response, but also a fact-sheet including the contact details for London Lesbian and Homosexual Switchboard. I composed to them and received an extremely helpful and comprehensive hand-written reply which responded all my inquiries and was very encouraging. This was somebody who had read what I got said, accepted it and acquired wished to help and encourage – and acquired spent time doing this voluntarily.
In addition, it included the contact details for the Hereford and Worcester Homosexual Switchboard, who I wrote to asking about local venues etc. There wasn’t much in Hereford, but there was a “pub night time” one Monday each month in the back-room of a run-down pub. Not knowing what things to expect, I went along to another one. There have been several groups of people who were obviously uninterested in speaking with anyone else. There were also a couple of individuals from Switchboard, one of whom spent a while with me. He recommended that I will try to get to one of the occasions in Worcester as these were much better went to and more enjoyable.
I went along another month too. The same shut groups have there been, but the men from switchboard weren’t. There was a lad seated by itself, looking very awkward. Despite devoid of much self-confidence myself, I contacted him and released myself. His name was Nick, he was 17 and it was his first time there. We’d quite a lot in common and got along well. We became good friends and backed one another through the process of developing. We visited our first homosexual nightclub together, visited Pride collectively etc. I believe a lot of individuals thought we were a couple though we weren’t. I wouldn’t have said no though, as I did so fancy him.
I started placing and replying to get hold of adverts in Gay Times journal. I fulfilled several men for beverages etc, but didn’t connect to some of them. Then I received an answer from Markie in Northampton. We wrote regularly for two weeks, then we agreed that he’d come to see me. We got on great right away, and within per month he had shifted in with me.
I gradually came out to work co-workers and family. Work was fine as the first person I informed was bisexual himself, and he told everyone else for me (within my demand). My sister and her then-husband were also fine and not at all amazed. Mum was fairly OK but father proceeded to go into denial mode for a while. This was problematic for mum as she wished to talk to someone about any of it, but fortunately my sister was there for her.
Dad steadily came round. Get together Markie and finding he was a typical guy and not a Julian Clary or Lily Savage personality helped. I think the main thing that decided him that this was OK was when my sister and her hubby announced that these were separating. Markie then became “number one son-in-law” in his eyes.
Father died in November 2002. At his funeral, Markie was regarded as a person in the immediate family. He sat in the front row with me, mum and my sister, and was also with the immediate family at the graveside. It had been just assumed by mum that he would be there – no discussions were needed.
Parting from Markie
In August 2008 Markie and I agreed to separate. Over the years we had drifted apart and it was time to go on. I won’t get into details as it isn’t relevant here, but there is more information in my blog.
I’ve wondered several times about those years between age 16 and 26. MUST I have come out quicker? What really ceased me? The only real thing that halted me was me. I possibly could blame circumstances or the environment at that time, but that’s just excuses. I am pleased that it is easier (not “easy”, just “easier”) for individuals to turn out now than it was then, and am always pleased to hear about successful arriving outs.
However the positive facet of it is that had I turn out at 16 it could have been before AIDS was uncovered so gay people didn’t think about safe sex. EASILY was a sexually energetic gay teenager in those days I may well not be here today.
Why I help to run Empty Closets
Back when I was working for the sea electronics company, I ran out of petrol in the company car. A sort gentleman provided me a good start to a petrol train station, stuffed his can with gasoline, took me back again to the automobile and poured the energy into it. He didn’t want anything for this, not even the cost of the petrol. He just said that the way to repay his help while i needed it might be for me personally to help another person when they need it. Although I have never really had to take a stranded motorist to a petrol station, this thought has remained with me.
A few people really helped me when I was young and needed it (even though I didn’t know how much I needed it or completely appreciate it at the time). I’d not be where I am today if it had not been for their generosity and kindness which went way beyond what their careers normally entailed, yet I’ve no way of thanking them directly. I am very happy to be able to repay their tremendous generosity by assisting and assisting others on Clear Closets.
Also, had there been the Internet and something like Clear Closets when I was in my own teens and early 20s, I’m absolutely sure it would have given me the self-confidence and support to turn out much quicker. So I really want it to achieve success and develop, to help the many more teenagers who require it.