Hello, I think I can add some of my personal experience here, I'm glad this subject has come up (thank you my lovely brother Piet, for sending me the link for this forum).
I grew up in the Dutch school, went to Sunday school from age 6, when it was first introduced there. The Govinda School. At age 10 was the transition to the 'big children's school', first named Plato School, later Ficino school when the day school was given afore mentioned name. I stayed on after age 16 to join the youth groups.
Following my teachers training (I studied to be a teacher of the English language in The Netherlands) I taught at the Plato School for a few years, and when the section of the school I taught at discontinued through lack of new pupils (this was the secondary school, the primary was still alive at that time), took the opportunity to move away, to London. This was in 1997.
With the help of the international connections between the Dutch school and SES I was able to find a room at an SES family's house in St Margarets, and I started attending a group night at Queen's Gate, joined the choir, did a duty, the whole hog, as you do.
I don't know why it's taking me so long to get to the point (sorry about that), but to those of you interested in the 'homosexuality and school' issue it will be obvious: it took me a very long time to figure myself out. More so to accept and understand the feelings I had had for a very long time. Let me illustrate by saying that when Mr van Oyen asked all my friends in my group to make a vow not to date boys, go out after 12 in the evening, sleep with or even kiss boys, it was very easy for me to swear I wouldn't. As a matter of fact, this to me was something to hide behind, and to tell you the truth, I felt quite superior to some of my friends, because I felt holier than holy for not even feeling that way inclined. And the subject of the 'introductions' that happened to some of my friends (men and young women being introduced to one another for the sole purpose of getting married), I thought that really this would suit me fine, seeing as to me it wouldn't really matter which man I'd marry, as I didn't fancy any one in particular anyway.
To this day I am grateful that I was able to move away. You will understand that moving to London and landing in SES didn't necessarily make it a lot easier at first, but this move allowed me to look at myself from more of a distance, and gradually I allowed myself to accept it. And then I took the biggest step ever (for me), I told my tutor.
It was at Nanpantan, during a tutorial talk (you know what they're like), and I told her I didn't feel much for men, and all the more for women. I had always had crushes on women that I had now come to realise were more than just 'really liking them'. She told me not to 'look at it', not to 'give it thought', and to see it as something I'd have to deal with by ignoring it, or something. As if that hadn't been the thing I had been doing all my life! By this time it was as clear as crystal that there was no way I could do this.
A little while after this weekend I called her to say I was leaving school. Shame I wasn't brave enough to tell her it was because of the homosexuality issue, but at the time I was so enraged I felt it was none of her business why I was leaving.
The only person in SES I did explain my motives to was a lady in the choir (dear Anthea, talk about crushes!), and she said that she was very sorry, but that she didn't think I'd been the only person to leave for that reason.
Funny: my coming out to my parents. On a holiday in The Netherlands (I couldn't tell them over the phone) I told my mum I had left school. She asked why. I said because I am gay. She said 'But surely that's no reason to leave school?'
Anyway, not long after this whole episode I met my current partner, and fell head over heels. After a very rocky start with lots of hurdles we have now been happily together for 4 years, and have even bought a house together (still in London).
I think I'll leave it at this for now. There is a lot to be said about how sorry I am that the SES is so aggressively negative about gays and lesbians, as I think that in principle my mum was right when she said being gay shouldn't be a reason to leave.
But on the other hand, I'm actually happy not to be part of the system any more.
Oh and on a humorous note: It was great visiting Waterperry for Art in Action with my girlfriend a year or so ago, especially when I ran into my former tutor, the one who had told me not to look at my feelings. Too bad my girlfriend isn't too keen on public displays of sexuality, because I would have loved to have snogged her well and good right in front of her. We did talk briefly, but no more than 'how are you', 'very well thanks, and you?' I made a point of reaching for my partner's hand at the time
I am proud of myself, and have completely accepted the way I am. I am sorry to have disappointed my parents, but realise that I cannot change myself to make them happy. They are great, though, and show total acceptation of my relationship.