According to Gianoulis T, (2004), “Situational, or ’emergency’ homosexuality is commonly defined as sexual activity with partners of the same sex that occurs not as part of a gay lifestyle, but because the participants happen to find themselves in a single-sex environment for a prolonged period. Some single-sex environments that frequently become venues for situational homosexuality include prisons, military bases, ships at sea, convents, and monasteries, athletic teams on tour, and boarding schools and colleges.”
When I wrote “Triumph of Innocence”, my aim was basically to focus on ‘situational homosexuality’ in male same-sexed boarding schools. I wrote from experience, common sense, and more importantly, divine inspiration. However, I have stumbled on a new problem. Some of my female friends who have read “Triumph of Innocence” think I should write a female version of the book. They say that lesbianism has been, and still is a ‘trend’ in same-sexed female boarding schools and that it would be unfair not to pay due attention to the issue as well.
First of all, I am not a lady, and as such, I cannot claim to know how lesbian relationships are brokered within female same-sexed boarding schools. Again, since I never attended a female boarding school, I cannot write like someone who came, saw, and understood the nature of these relationships. However, I have come across many writings of some friends who went to these schools and experienced these issues first-hand. I have also held conversations with others who seem to have ample understanding of the nature of ‘situational lesbianism’ in same-sexed female boarding schools.
From my readings and interactions, I have come to discover that the principles of situational homosexuality in boarding schools (irrespective of whether or not they are male or female restricted) are very similar. So a new girl comes into a same-sexed boarding school setting for the first time, all innocent. She is soon singled out by one popular senior or teacher, who is interested in making her a ‘school daughter’. If the popular senior or teacher isn’t a lesbian, our new girl is safe, bless God. But if she is, then chances are that the new girl soon gets introduced to a whole new world of sexual weirdness. Puberty accelerates matters, proximity, and enclosure heighten the problem, and experimentation takes over. In no time, our new girl becomes lost in an all-female world of situational homosexuality.
Take scenario two. A new girl comes into a same-sexed boarding school setting for the first time, all innocent. She meets a classmate who has been a lesbian from Eve; a habit she picked up from an abusive nanny, aunt, neighbour, or in rare cases, mum. The new girl forms intimate bonds with her lesbian classmate and they become besties, girlfriends, chocolate partners, and whatever else they call it these days. Chances are that this new girl might get influenced by her lesbian friend; becoming one herself.
The above scenarios may work conversely. In other cases, they may not exactly happen the way I’ve put them here. And in some other cases, situational homosexuality may not even occur, as a result of several variables. But I’m sure you’ve grabbed the basic idea. Some of these teenagers might even become lesbians for life, secretly practicing the habit after marriage.
My aim here is not to finger-point. That has never helped anyone. But a society that is morally conscious must strive to be proactive in sensitive issues of this nature. Sometimes, the intense conditions (called discipline) under which these teenagers are raised make matters worse. Hence, while veiled figures and straightened backs are busy punishing students for coming late to the Chapel or for making noise in the classroom, the students are busy doing stuff that would tingle the ‘disciplined’ minds of their teachers and housemasters. Perhaps the more absurd thing is that whenever these lesbians happen to be ‘caught’, they are flogged, publicly disgraced and expelled from their ‘morally impeccable’ institutions. The irony of the whole scenario leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
What do we do? Why can’t teenagers talk about sensitive issues like this with their guidance and counselors? The last time I checked, every boarding school was supposed to have a guidance and counseling unit. Do these schools have trained personnel to handle teenage related issues? Where there are trained child psychologists, do they have the temperament to make the children trust them enough to talk about sensitive issues bordering on psychosexual growth and development? To what extent are boarding schools genuinely concerned about grooming the sexual and sensual aspects of their students?
Fast forward. By God’s grace, some female boarders who indeed experimented with lesbianism in their secondary school days have outgrown the habit. They simply do not see the point anymore. However, some are still struggling, while others have come to accept their new sexual orientation. These lesbians are people too. We need to understand them first before condemning them. Some of them genuinely want to be helped, and the majority of the cases fall under the categories I’ve explained above. We also owe them pastoral care. To continue acting as though everyone with a lesbian orientation is going straight to hell, without any attempt at understanding why they have become that way is not only uncharitable but also unchristian.
This is not to say there aren’t lesbians who became so through other circumstances. This is not to say there aren’t lesbians who genuinely think they were born that way and would like to remain that way (that’s a matter for another day). However, for now, it suffices to ensure that same-sexed boarding schools begin looking inwards. We may have produced many more homosexuals than we would care to admit. This should not continue!
Above all, we must collectively look up to God, who is capable of writing straight on crooked lines.
God bless you.