Burnley Grammar School

Childhood > Schools

6487 Comments

Burnley Grammar School
Burnley Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 1,409,702
Item #: 1607
There's pleny of room in the modern-styled gymnasium for muscle developing, where the boys are supervised by Mr. R. Parry, the physical education instruction.
Source: Lancashire Life Magazine, December 1959

Comment by: Alan on 14th April 2024 at 03:12

Comment by: Zack on 13th April 2024 at 22:18


I agree with every word you say here, Zack. It seems this highly dubious practice of making boys swim naked went on in some British schools (mainly grammar and boarding schools) till very late in the 1970s. If we can say that in the early part of the 20th century people were more ignorant and primitive, you cannot say that in the 1960s and 1970s. I am sure if parents could afford to send their sons to such establishments a pair of swimming trunks wouldn't have broken the bank. If we can also say that this was in the main, teachers exercising their precious power in most cases, there was a degree of perversion in others. Anyway, it was the most egregious form of abuse of power.

IP Logged: ***.**.3.172

Comment by: Zack on 13th April 2024 at 22:18

Joel Peterson.

I would have found it absolutely terrifying as a schoolboy to have been told I had to swim without swim trunks on. I get that there are some that didn't mind maybe but just imagine being ones that did. I'd never heard of this before and it astonishes me, I've looked it up further tonight in complete disbelief and found more about it.

Chris G.

I used to get a very physical internal sinking feeling sensation hit me when our PE teachers made the decision that our PE class had to remove our tops and go bare chested and really disliked it a lot and found it a very difficult thing to do easily.

All adolescents are body conscious and school picked the worst age to engage kids like me into mandatory bare chested PE lessons and the naked showering tedium. When I grew up I grew out of these worries to a large extent thankfully but school hit you with stuff like this just at the wrong moment in the lives of many I think.

IP Logged: **.**.18.42

Comment by: Chris G on 13th April 2024 at 09:21

Karl's posting about sudden and unexpected topless PE reminded me of my own introduction to the practice in my last term at Primary school and some two or three years before I found myself topless in the gym at Secondary school. Back then we hed no formal PE kit other than a pair of plimsolls. The rest of our outfit consisted of our regular school shorts, together with most, if not all, of what we wearing on top that day, generally pullover, shirt and vest.One hot sunny afternoon, as we gathered in the tarmac playground for PE, which I think was the last lesson of the day, the teacher who generally took boys' PE Mr Begley, told us that as it was so hot, and that we would be running around for a bit, we should "strip to the waist" as he put it. As it was summer, most of us weren't wearing pullovers, but almost all of us were wearing vests, but it all came off without too much protest. And that was that! I think we all enjoyed the all too brief interlude of toplessness, but it never happened again, and at the end of that school year I moved on to. Secondary with a more conventional approach to PE kit. For some reason embarrassment probably, I never told Mum about the experience, although for some reason I told my younger sister

IP Logged: **.**.240.40

Comment by: Robert D on 12th April 2024 at 20:13

Given a choice everyone eventually ended up shirtless at my school gym - shock horror!

How big were others gym classes on here? Mine seemed large, about 40 per class, they merged at least 4 separate classes of boys sometimes into one gym PE lesson.

Unlike quite a lot of you on here, where I was at school, a normal state comprehensive school in Winchester in the late 70s the PE kit when we did the gym part of PE was optional on shirts or going skins and we were allowed to decide for ourselves. Most boys in my gym class removed their shirts for those PE lessons, probably very close that three quarters figure that has been mentioned on the surveys actually. I took mine off voluntarily too. This was from day one at comprehensive school in class. What I noticed over the course of the next few weeks when we did gym PE was how even more boys kept their PE shirts off voluntarily too and soon there were only a couple left who kept them on and within six months our entire gym PE class in my first comprehensive year was shirtless and no PE teacher had ever actually told us we absolutely had to be, it had happened completely organically by choice and possibly a bit of peer pressure not wanting to stand out as different from the rest too.

It's all really rather interesting. I've seen the comments about "bareskin" running on here. When we ran the school X-country there were always boys running it with their sweatshirts hanging tied around their waists and doing it shirtless so proving that even many schoolboys liked that method of running along in the fresh air when they were allowed to, and our PE teachers were easy either way on that. I personally never gave that a try but there were a sizable handful of about 7 or 8 in our X-country that ran like that, they were the ones who tended to think of themselves as the fittest and fastest competitive runners in general and it was a bit of a statement they made about themselves.

Another thing I remember about the late 70s and early 80s and hanging about out of school was just how often boys my age at the time, pre and very early teens, 11 to 14 let's say, left the house to play with our mates and didn't bother to wear anything, we were simply shirtless for quite a lot of the time sometimes, as well as kids of a younger age like our younger brothers too if we had them. Our parents weren't bothered by this childhood public shirtless choice. I had a best friend whose mum made it clear if he was intending to go "uptown" with us then he must put something on, and we all did that anyway but general dossing around with each other shirtless was often something we chose to be without giving it a great deal of thought.

IP Logged: **.***.189.132

Comment by: Joel Peterson on 12th April 2024 at 01:13

Further to the poll that Nathan conducted recently which discovered that 75 percent of his own British boys preferred to do PE bare chested, and his recent answer on showers, you might like to know that going all the way back to 1960 at a school in the United States called North Tonawanda High, in New York State, the boys there were given a poll on swimming at that time, and at that school the rule was that boys could not wear anything in the pool to swim, and went in completely stark naked. Now being asked to do that must have been an absolute shocker for some lads I'm quite sure, but when given the opportunity to express an actual opinion on it for themselves the boys came back with a result matching Nathan's own British poll on bare chests, they also voted 75% in favour of continuing to go swimming at school without bothering with swimming trunks and being naked. Even much later in 1973 there was a school in Minnesota that took a poll of its own boys there and that saw another vote in favour of going swimming at school the same way.

As a rule this kind of thing was going on roughly from 1913 until finally fizzling out around about 1980, a rough estimate suggests that many hundred of places, something like 600 to 800 large schools over those years made it mandatory that all their male pupils on the school roll must take swimming lessons and they must always do them wearing absolutely nothing but the skin they were born in.

My own uncle went to school in Bloomington, Illinois in the fifties and did this himself and told me there was some open dialogue against it at that time from a small minority but those people were completely ignored.

IP Logged: **.**.12.61

Comment by: Nicholas J on 11th April 2024 at 22:21

I remember August 1978 very well. I can still take in the weeks before starting secondary school and the things I was fixated about that kept running through my own mind at the time. Not that I mentioned it to anyone, it was just quiet internal ruminating for the most part, and upcoming PE lessons and the full knowledge that going up to this new school definitely meant I'd be expected to do certain PE with no shirt on, but most glaring of all the full strip off for the class shower played on the mind a lot. When some of our new teachers turned up at school in July and one said we had to have showers after PE an electrical frisson ran through me at the very words being said aloud. But as I said on my 29th February comment, all that over analysing and thinking was largely for nothing in the end and it really was as in the old FDR phrase - 'the only thing you have to fear is fear itself'. It was mostly true. Like anything new it was a touch awkward first go, hardly a surprise really, but being made to shower in school had a mostly positive effect on me I'd say and it made me confront and realise something about myself, that my own shyness was nothing near as bad as I had thought it would be.

The worst thing, looking back, would have been to create trouble about it, or for the teachers to start overindulging some of us. I'm glad neither happened, it would have been a mistake.

I think Greg you've written a well thought out piece here especially about how you can make things worse for yourself by resisting things sometimes. It may sound completely counter intuitive I know, but the best thing for a really shy, insecure person to do, in this case in a gym class if asked to do the shirtless lessons he hates, or take that group shower that mortifies him, is to quietly get on with it and do as the others do rather than create the fuss that then leads to far more attention and an even bigger judgement being made about you. That is a very hard ask for some I'm sure, but it's the best way. Mark Twyford here (18th February) more or less made this point with his real life story of such a boy didn't he.

When I cast off my own fear almost immediately it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders I can tell you. If you confront things that worry you, scare you, or frighten you and do them, overcome them and deal with them then it has a huge effect on your personal esteem, and that can apply to anything well beyond schooldays fears of being seen in the gym without a shirt on or in the changing room shower with nothing on.

IP Logged: **.*.24.171

Comment by: Greg2 on 11th April 2024 at 19:50

Comment by: Karl on 10th April 2024 at 03:04

If he was a good looking kid he might have just started to become a bit self-conscious, especially at just around that age. I know that sounds strange and difficult to understand but it can happen. At that age you haven’t quite worked out the consequences of your actions really, and you’re not quite able to assess too far ahead. All your emotions are immediate and in the present, so he was probably thinking he was avoiding a situation that would make him uncomfortable, but not understanding that he was making everything worse. I suppose he thought he would avoid attention, but in fact created even more. I remember all those mistakes. Didn’t a very sensible sounding gym teacher write on here some time ago, that if a troubled boy is allowed to keep his shirt on for a few lessons, he’d likely eventually learn that this made him even more noticeable, and so eventually learn and realised it’s better to just be the same as all his friends, and take it off.

What would some have done if told to take your top clothes off and come to the front of a co-ed class to help with a biology demonstration, so that our female teacher can point at my ribs etc? As I mentioned previously, I was told to do this when I was 11, but fiercely refused. I think she was surprised and began to insist I do it, but I just wouldn't. She eventually gave up with me, but another boy seemed happy to do it. Would that have bothered some of you, or not?

Back to this boy, if he was so upset about having to remove his top, how did he cope with the showers when the lot came off? Showering was always difficult for most of us to get through at first, but we all had to do it years ago. I remember my first time as almost feeling like an out of body experience, rather than just an out of clothes experience. I remember thinking I couldn’t believe I was actually in there with them all. This odd feeling was probably due to attending gym for weeks, but being unable to take part until I’d had clearance that my broken leg had sufficiently healed. even then I had to be careful. I do remember kids asking when I'd be joining them for gym, instead of doing my homework sitting along the gym wall in my school uniform. One even asked when would I be having my first shower! I must admit this worried me a bit as I began to wonder whether he meant some strange initiation ritual would take place or something. Thankfully there was no such thing when I eventually joined them. I suppose they checked me out as I was eventually in there with them as someone new, but it didn’t last long as they saw I was obviously just the same as them. We all work this out in the end, but I was the first one out of there; as I remember the gym teacher shouting at me for putting my shirt on before drying myself properly. I do think it must have been an easier moment when all shared together for the first time as something unique when so young, but I never experienced that.

IP Logged: **.***.138.79

Comment by: Neil on 11th April 2024 at 19:33

I completely agree with Nathan's teaching position here. Nothing wrong with it at all.

IP Logged: ***.***.35.233

Comment by: Toby on 11th April 2024 at 11:19

I don't know John.

I didn’t have much of a problem with it per se, but if you do have something you're sensitive to, having it literally pointed out can ge hard.

Even if others can't understand why that particular thing would bother you.

IP Logged: *.***.157.103

Comment by: Alan on 11th April 2024 at 10:27

Comment by: Nathan Hind on 9th April 2024 at 22:51
.


...."Not so many schools do compulsory showers as they used to but I see nothing wrong with it and expect it. Ours are open communal, everything must come off. I had to take communal showers at school 25 years ago too, just the same. ".....

The oldest and flimsiest reason beloved of schoolteachers. I had to do it, so you will too.

If you had been around 40 odd years ago, Nathan, and you got frequent colds, for example, the school doctor would probably have recommended you had your tonsils yanked out. It did damn all good (schools are breeding grounds for germs, as you know), but luckily the medical profession, at least, has moved with the times. Your profession seems stuck in the past.

Seriously It's. up to the INDIVIDUAL. .If he chooses to shower privately, back home, that's his right to privacy… Why this constant subject to have all lads supposed to shower together?? - get over it gentlemen, . TIMES HAVE CHANGED…And I think for the better

This applies btw, to all of you, not just Nathan.

IP Logged: ***.**.3.172

Comment by: John on 10th April 2024 at 17:19

If you have a problem with having to remove your top for PE class then the problem is yours, not your teacher.

IP Logged: **.***.73.116

Comment by: Karl on 10th April 2024 at 03:04

My class at school was confronted with a sudden and unexpected shirtless PE lesson one day not long after I started comprehensive school in 1987 when I was a fresh faced innocent little twelve year old. Whilst most boys just quietly got on with it and did as they were told and got rid of their stripey vests (the official gym top) for the teacher in charge, there was one kid we had who began pleading like his life depended on it to be able to keep his one on, I remember it quite well because he kept pleading about it and got quite upset about it for some reason and made the teacher lose it. I remember when he finally took his top off because that teacher made him do it right in front of him, he seemed to sulk about it but I looked at him and couldn't understand why he had made such a scene about it because he had a really okay looking body and probably was one of the best looking kids in our class anyway. So if I can ask those on here who may understand this, why did this bare chested phobia or fear affect some people so badly like this in PE classes or indeed anywhere else? What were boys like some of you on here and the one in my own class actually scared of about having to be this way in gym lessons?

There was nothing in any of the school literature we received or talks we had that gave us any hint we would end up taking regular PE lessons in our bare chests so frequently in our own school gymnasium. It rather just happened. It wasn't the school deciding it, it was definitely just up to the teacher we had on the day and his word was the final say.

I think if you were shy or very self conscious about your looks then the most brutally efficient way to make you feel even more anxious must surely have been those years of being forced to undergo the communal shower at school. I last took showers at school in 1991 but the sights, sounds and smell of the things still lingers long in my mind. You kind of had to give up your own body sovereignty as part of doing school PE in your teenage years.

IP Logged: **.***.46.50

Comment by: Tanya on 10th April 2024 at 01:32

Why do men and boys like doing what Sean has said he did in the first sentence of his last post here? And in school!

IP Logged: **.***.179.132

Comment by: Nathan Hind on 9th April 2024 at 22:51

Comment by: Terry on 26th March 2024 at 22:27
"You have said that the results of your recent shirtless survey were in line with your expectations Nathan. I believe you once said your school still takes showers after PE so I just wonder what your expectation would be for any result on that issue if you were to hold a similar survey on attitudes to that, and would you ever consider such a survey in future in that regard?"



Yes you are correct here Terry, the requirement is to take a shower after PE. But no, I see no purpose in conducting a similar question around the whole shower issue at all, like I did on the shirts or not options. Good personal hygiene is essential and it is the job of the PE teacher to make sure that it is done where a school requires it to be. Not so many schools do compulsory showers as they used to but I see nothing wrong with it and expect it. Ours are open communal, everything must come off. I had to take communal showers at school 25 years ago too, just the same. I should imagine there is not a single man on this forum who hasn't done the school communal shower when younger, and I'm sure none are psychologically damaged by it. It has presented me with no big problems in ten years.

IP Logged: **.**.163.11

Comment by: Sean on 9th April 2024 at 22:19

Greg, I wouldn't have danced but I did once get a telling off from a teacher (male) for larking about too much in the school changing room doing a 'helicopter' movement if you know what that means. It was always great to make people laugh at school I found, although hard to make some teachers do so. I do think that over confidence can also have as many drawbacks as a lack of it and some of what I got up to makes me cringe a little thinking about it right now. I did knuckle down and actually do the work required with due diligence and effort however.

Craig if you are on here I'm waiting to hear how the Easter Monday shirtless bareskin running went and what your numbers were for it.

IP Logged: ***.***.35.23

Comment by: Greg2 on 9th April 2024 at 18:59

Comment by: James W on 8th April 2024 at 02:02

James, all you mentioned is just typical and what would be expected at those times. Those age groups were always mostly under the supervision of females, and girls were always given priority for privacy. I wonder what girls always thought about things like this?

I didn’t like the timex watch bit really. She was alone with you all in there and got it completely wrong thinking your age group wouldn’t be on to it right away that she chose her moment to worry about your watch. Or perhaps she didn’t care that knowing a moment’s hesitation would have answered her concern, with your trunks pulled up and your watch taken off.

The man making the boys go through the spray and foot bath without trunks was very odd. Surely it wasn't advantageous in any way for children to do this before putting swimming gear on? I certainly never had to do this, as
we’d go through this area on the way to the pool, and it was visible by everyone already in the pool. I hope you weren’t all made to do this in view of your girl classmates, as that would have been really undeserved. Perhaps that man was just a nuisance and a dodgy character who quietly got a kick out of making the boys parade in front of the woman. Also, I don’t understand why she couldn't find it in herself to question this, as she'd witnessed you going through this area with your swimming trunks on previously. Almost predictable, and just very strange.


Comment by: Sean on 7th April 2024 at 21:54

Sean, if I’d had to put up with the nonsense that Ellis described, it would have been great fun to have a character like you in our form. In fact it would have been helpful. I’m sure we would have all pushed you to the front so you could do a dance for her. It would have been hilarious, and you both could have enjoyed that ;-)

IP Logged: **.***.138.79

Comment by: Alan on 9th April 2024 at 16:59

Comment by: Paul G on 9th April 2024 at 15:44


I played music, Paul. I didn't wear lipstick or pink dresses. Plain ordinary music, no drag, and I wasn't bullied for that, because most people didn't know about it.

Typical of the right-on mob to endorse any kind of kinky practice or perversion. However, you seem to imply that you agree with me that Mr. I is an exhibitionist, and in all probability an effeminate homosexual, possibly in denial.

We must be a laughing stock in countries overseas. Nobody need flaunt their peccadilloes.

IP Logged: ***.**.3.172

Comment by: Paul G on 9th April 2024 at 15:44

Comment by: Devon Lad on 8th April 2024 at 21:14
<It's available on You Tube along with others from that series but you need to sign in and be age verified to watch it, somewhat strange considering it was meant for kids to view with their teachers in the first place.
ITV SCHOOLS - GOOD HEALTH: Fit and Healthy (TX 24/01/83)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRRw-k7cGJs >




Clearly a middle school taking showers there isn't it. There is something so typical of our times now that such a film that was designed for children to watch now has to be given some kind of age restriction. It doesn't really make a lot of sense does it, that it can be inappropriate for anyone really if it was once okay for children. A great example of how modern times have made totally innocent things seem like a problem or even sinister in some way when they are not.



Comment by: Alan on 9th April 2024
<If you want an up-to-date example, I offer you the sad spectacle of Eddie Izzard, former comedian of sorts, and actor of sorts, who sensing his 15 minutes of theatrical fame are over, has attempted to become a politician and has two failed attempts - at Sheffield and Brighton - under HIS belt, despite donning clown make-up, pink dresses and even false breasts, God help us, despite calling himself "Suzy", and mincing into ladies public lavatories (much to the annoyance of real women), he failed to convince even the normally open-minded of Brighton.>



This Izzard stuff is not the place for such intolerant off topic comment and has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject of this forum or history in any way at all and I'm not sure why you are leaving it here. You've denied homophobia in the past but it's clear you show a strong dislike for anyone different, which is rather ironic having read through your own tales of woe at being a skinny kid who liked music and stood out different at school among the others and got picked on for it.

IP Logged: **.***.40.209

Comment by: Alan on 9th April 2024 at 03:20

Comment by: Chris G on 8th April 2024 at 22:12

"I'm going to put my Pedant's hat on again and point out that there is a world of difference between Transvestite and Trans-gender."

Well, Chris, you can take it off again. I think everyone knew what I meant when I used the term - "transgender" is the new term for men who dress up as Peter Butterworth (Sgt Slowbottom) did in Hokum Wood in Carry On Screaming - and make it clear they are men "dressing up" and it seems some women are going the other way, and trying to look like Charlie Chaplin.

If you want an up-to-date example, I offer you the sad spectacle of Eddie Izzard, former comedian of sorts, and actor of sorts, who sensing his 15 minutes of theatrical fame are over, has attempted to become a politician and has two failed attempts - at Sheffield and Brighton - under HIS belt, despite donning clown make-up, pink dresses and even false breasts, God help us, despite calling himself "Suzy", and mincing into ladies public lavatories (much to the annoyance of real women), he failed to convince even the normally open-minded of Brighton.

There should be no place for them in the school locker room, whatever trans suffix you give them.

IP Logged: ***.**.3.172

Comment by: Stephen on 9th April 2024 at 00:51

That's what I was thinking Chris, they are not the same thing at all. I didn't feel confident enough to say so, pleased someone has. A transvestite is a man who likes dressing up as a woman but has no desire to actually be a woman or go about like one in normal day to day life, whereas a trans person does desire to dress and go about as such in everyday life. I'm sure that's how it is, saying that as an open minded fair playing straight gentleman with no desire to wear anything other than clothing suitable for my own male gender.

IP Logged: ***.***.58.110

Comment by: Chris G on 8th April 2024 at 22:12

I'm going to put my Pedant's hat on again and point out that there is a world of difference between Transvestite and Trans-gender.

IP Logged: ***.***.176.206

Comment by: Devon Lad on 8th April 2024 at 21:14

Comment by: A Yorkshiredad on 8th April 2024
'On the point of school showers, I do not know of any primary school that requires them. Pre-pubescent boys simply do not sweat that much, I have never seen a boy "soaked in sweat" in one of my PE classes. To require showers in primary schools would simply be odd.'



When I was last on here placing a few comments a couple of years ago there was a discussion about a schools TV programme called Good Health that was shown about 40 or so years ago which featured PE and fitness related issues aimed at primary school ages and in it there was a featured a middle school, it was in Redditch, and showed that middle school doing not just shirtless PE but clearly taking communal showers for the lot of them because they stuck a camera in the showers and filmed them all without censorship of any kind.

It's available on You Tube along with others from that series but you need to sign in and be age verified to watch it, somewhat strange considering it was meant for kids to view with their teachers in the first place.

ITV SCHOOLS - GOOD HEALTH: Fit and Healthy (TX 24/01/83)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRRw-k7cGJs

IP Logged: **.***.138.120

Comment by: Harold on 8th April 2024 at 14:48

Our three went to a primary school that took showers in the 1970s. Based on what you have said here Yorkshire Dad I rooted around to find some old paperwork I've kept from those days alongside things like old school photo's etcetra, to refresh myself about our children back then, and us their parents and they were being asked to make sure they went in with a towel for shower and kit on the right day. I have a lot of old school letters and bits in a document case at home. How often they did this is only something I can know by asking one of them if they still remember. I know there was a collection of at least four men I knew of at their school at the time and the head was also a man.

IP Logged: ***.**.10.66

Comment by: Neil on 8th April 2024 at 14:08

A Yorkshiredad, the trouble with Alan is his inability to stop this excessive over generalising about sets people in society. The types of people he speaks of in this instance are a small MINORITY, nothing more than that. Although not a teacher myself it's perfectly obvious that the kinds of people Alan speaks of are no more representative of teaching as a whole than the BNP are of the views of middle England.

IP Logged: ***.***.35.233

Comment by: A Yorkshiredad on 8th April 2024 at 10:21

"There certainly seems to be a universal streak of voyeurism amongst PE teachers of both genders. "

Alan, too much. This is such an insult to myself and the whole teaching profession. You seem a very intelligent person, try to think more about what you are writing in future and less about repeatedly expressing your psychological trauma.

At my school I became the boys PE specialist because I was a rare male primary age teacher, not though special training or desire. Schools do seek to put men into boys changing rooms to minimise any embarrassment whenever possible, but female teachers so outnumber the male that I guess it does still sometimes happen. There has to be some supervision at that time but it is minimal. We are also an unusual school in that the boys do sometimes have single sex PE which is very unusual at their age. Mixed classes are the norm.(https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5b32201ce5274a55cdf21b3f/Gender-separation-guidance.pdf)

On the point of school showers, I do not know of any primary school that requires them. Pre-pubescent boys simply do not sweat that much, I have never seen a boy "soaked in sweat" in one of my PE classes. To require showers in primary schools would simply be odd.

IP Logged: ***.***.147.162

Comment by: Alan on 8th April 2024 at 03:03

Comment by: Greg2 on 7th April 2024 at 20:05


"Comment by: Ellis on 6th April 2024 at 01:29, and also Neil and Richard below.
What, are you saying Ellis, that Mrs Harrison didn’t just keep a lookout out the corner of one eye, like Janet said she did? Who’d have thought. You can be sure Mrs Harrison would have told the story that she had to check on the boys during showering at every opportunity as well. It’s strange they always seem do that. An opposite gender empowerment thing I suppose. The girls would certainly have known, and I expect probably teased you a little about it at times. I didn’t really understand why you had to avoid showing any embarrassment, or resentment about it though. That must have made things worse...."

There certainly seems to be a universal streak of voyeurism amongst PE teachers of both genders. It was always noticeable - even the most naive boys noticed it in our school - that our Mr. Roberts took very little interest, or notice of, our ablutions when we 11 or 12, but once you got to 13, he felt he had to watch all the time, and it got more intense the older you got. He really did give himself away.

As regards transvestites, I honestly think it is appalling that people of either gender who self-identify themselves to the opposite gender should be allowed anywhere near a school locker or shower room. The fact that there are school head teachers and governors who will countenance this sort of thing, shows just how far standards have slipped in this country. Had I been Amanda, who told us of this last week in connection with her 16 year old son being forced to endure classes with such a teacher, I would have withdrawn him from the class, and told the head teacher why - offend or please. The fact that people are prepared to turn a blind eye to depravity means that these egregious practices will get even more blatant and "acceptable" as time goes on.

Transvestism at one time was very rare but in the past few years it seems to have become almost a fad - especially in Britain - let's hope it dies away as quickly as CB radio and the ice bucket challenge did. It is an aberration of the most repulsive sort.

IP Logged: ***.**.3.172

Comment by: James W on 8th April 2024 at 02:02

Interesting story Greg, and Ellis there as well. Double standards stink!

Circa 1977-78 our top two years primary school classes of 11 and 12 year olds went down the local open air lido swimming pool for lessons throughout the summer term in both those years, the pool was large and there were a lot of us. At the pool there were only enough cubicles to change for just about half of us if two went into a cubicle each, and they were only big enough for two people max anyway. So the girls got given all the cubicles for themselves down the pool to share in pairs with each other while all the boys had to make do with the open plan area to change. There was no privacy at all for the boys. We were taken swimming by two ladies, one hung around the girls cubicles, I remember her banging on doors hurrying them up to come out. The other hung around in the middle of the open plan area watching all the boys getting in and out of our swimming trunks. Some boys did the towel wrap thing to remove trunks, others did not. There was more than enough 'on display'. I didn't go in for the towel dance like some did, and once I was taken by surprise just as I'd dropped my pants to put my swim trunks on, I received a gentle tap on the shoulder to be told to remove my wristwatch in full undress mode and was really embarrassed by it. I never wore my watch in the pool anyway and was about to take it off, I didn't need telling by anyone about that. An old windup Timex it certainly wasn't waterproof so I'd have wrecked it if I had tried.

There was also a quick shower spray and foot bath we had to walk through in the communal open area for a few seconds before entering the swimming pool water properly, we usually did this in our swimming trunks but one week we had a male teacher come with the regular lady and he made us walk through the shower spray and footbath with nothing on before getting our swim trunks on and all the while the other lady was nearby watching the lot of it pretending she was seeing nothing when she was seeing everything. The actual girls in class did this separate from the boys and in their full swim costumes.

Quite frankly of course you didn't say anything, as a boy you soon learn even at a young age, well you did back then, that's how you are treated, and anyway the last thing anyone wanted was to be thought of as a cissy about being unhappy or bothered about being seen without their stuff on in front of people. I'm quite sure the ribbing from other classmates that might have taken place if anyone had been brave enough/stupid enough to start questioning it could have been unkind in itself and it's doubtful if a teacher at the time would have been accommodating to any one, especially boys who expressed unease.

Our parents all had to pay for the opportunity too. It wasn't a free swim. I remember the following summer when we began going along to the pool again there were a small group of about half a dozen who didn't pay and were left behind and I knew one of them had not paid on purpose because he didn't want to do that again and made out his parents could afford to send him swimming which I knew was completely untrue.

IP Logged: **.**.88.25

Comment by: Sean on 7th April 2024 at 21:54

Comment by: Ellis on 6th April 2024 at 01:29

I was admittedly something of an overly confident show off at school sometimes and worried about very little, certainly didn't care about who might see me in what state of undress or whatever like that associated with PE, whether a girl might see me with no shirt on for example, and I know I'd have treated the ladies PE teacher coming in on the boys as a good laugh actually and probably tried to deliberately embarrass her! I would not have been at all bothered by such a thing at all, I know some people might find that hard to believe. I remember chatting to someone once and saying how great it would be if we could share with the girls, and I meant it! Far from it being an unhealthy thing to say I actually think it's quite a healthy way of thinking to be largely unconcerned about such things and be completely accepting about who you are and the skin you are in. I wish others were.

On the twin brother thing, I seem to remember that twins were always kept separate at my schools, I knew a couple of sets of twins myself over the years at school. One pair of identical twin brothers used to always be joined at the hip staying close by each other every break time before having to go their to their separate classes. They were often given a hard time for simply being so close with one another and freezing others out.

The question I want to know Stuart is what were your differences then as identical twins, and were you identical in all respects, you know, down there, was that the cause of the changing room issue. Even identical twins can't be that identical can they when seen in the raw. When I was at middle school the two pairs I knew were always sent in with the same clothes on each even though we had no school uniform to speak of at that school age. I'm sure that was more of a thing in the past rather than nowadays. A teachers nightmare, I often couldn't tell one from the other myself.

IP Logged: ***.***.35.23

Comment by: Greg2 on 7th April 2024 at 20:05

Comment by: Ellis on 6th April 2024 at 01:29, and also Neil and Richard below.
What, are you saying Ellis, that Mrs Harrison didn’t just keep a lookout out the corner of one eye, like Janet said she did? Who’d have thought. You can be sure Mrs Harrison would have told the story that she had to check on the boys during showering at every opportunity as well. It’s strange they always seem do that. An opposite gender empowerment thing I suppose. The girls would certainly have known, and I expect probably teased you a little about it at times. I didn’t really understand why you had to avoid showing any embarrassment, or resentment about it though. That must have made things worse.

I never had to put up with a woman watching us showering, thankfully. Nor did I even have to do gym without a shirt. In that regard perhaps I was lucky. But, I certainly experienced double standards fully head on during late childhood, and I’ll give a routine example of that during 3 months on a children's ward when nearly 12. My memories take me right back to my discomfort of that time. It was a completely female environment on a children's ward back then, rather like a junior or middle school always is. I never saw a male nurse, only doctors. I was dealt with at the whim of the female nurses on duty; some of whom were lovely, others awful. I soon leant to dread the weekly bed sheet changing on the mixed gender ward, as it was always a performance with my bed, and taking much longer due to having my leg in traction with my fractured femur, and also because I was a boy.

There was always a turnaround of children, and at this particular time the end bit of the ward where my bed was had several girls around it. Due to being in traction with a Thomas splint on one leg, it meant I was attached to the bed and therefore couldn’t wear pyjama bottoms over it, just a jacket. A young girl had recently arrived, and was placed just opposite my bed. She would come across to my bed most afternoons to chat, and I can still see her light blue dressing gown with round collar with lacy trim. She asked my age, saying she was 11 too. I started dreading the sheet changing coming up as I really didn’t want this girl to see me; she was always staring across at me anyway. When the day came I asked nurses if I could have a screen, which was just smirked at, as these were always in use around girls beds, giving the impression it didn’t matter for me. In comparison, it was like a secret society meeting around any girls' beds when this happened with the female nurses in charge, but for boys, nobody cared. They only protected their own it seems, and to be truthful it was almost as though they deliberately put boys in their charge on display. So, there I was, while this took place, and that girl stared across at me all the way through it as I watched her, and did she stare. I hated it and felt humiliated. Later that afternoon, the girl came across to talk to me again. All I remember thinking is, ‘You’ve seen me with nothing on,’ and I’m sure she could see I wasn’t interested and she walked away.

That’s just how it was. I was always a bit bodily shy anyway, it was just my nature. It’s no use saying it’s stupid and boys shouldn’t care about such things. We're all who we are and I wasn't raise in any sort of institution. I think, especially at that late childhood age, just when you like to pretend you’re starting to grow up, even though you’re wondering when this might start to happen, you prefer this to be respected. It was bad enough with those young nurses all over me, I certainly didn’t want same age girls having a ring side seat. Yes, I know it was a hundred years ago, and yes of course I’m not totally embittered and compulsive and obsessive about it. I just still have empathy for that kid I used to be back then, and remembered how he felt.

I don’t think they’d treat kids in this way today, at least I hope not…but there again, hasn’t a young she/he person just been invited to become a boys’ gym teacher somewhere?

IP Logged: **.***.138.79

Comment by: Stuart P on 7th April 2024 at 16:53

We did bare chested PE at my own comprehensive school all the while in my time, '76 to '81. I think it must have definitely been compulsory. We never got any other options other than that. I simply don't even remember any kind of official school gym top of any kind, whether a tee-shirt or a vest for that matter or even bringing such to school with me on gym days, besides a towel and shorts. I just remember popping off to gym never wearing anything on top being the thing everyone did. I tended to find I slipped easily into this way of doing things after the initial self conscious awkwardness lessened within a few weeks but it definitely took getting used to. No idea why they effectively banned all shirts in the school gym at ours.

What I do remember is the barking at us to get into the showers! No choice in that for sure and it's a big memory for me because quite often my twin brother who was in another class shared PE with our class and we were identical twins hard to tell apart at that age but it got really tedious, we found ourselves sharing the PE showers with each other and that wasn't great with your brother when clowns were trying to work out how to tell us apart while we had nothing on. Neither of us liked doing PE together and really disliked changing and showering together and the crap we had to put up with from others in our respective classes about it.

When we first started PE at school our first PE teacher assembled us in the gym and told us he wanted to give everyone a kiss. That was weird until he went on to say it was an acronym that stood for Keep In Shape System.

IP Logged: *.***.56.191