Van Horn Gay Days
You cannot so it seems have a get together of Van Horn alumni of any size without eventually talking about the swimming pool at Van Horn. There is always the talk of the boys swimming nude and girls having to ware swim suits that had holes. The girls also suffered from the humiliation of what I have heard one female alumnus refer to as the “nude parade” after they showered.
I don’t remember feeling humiliated standing in the buff lined up in the shower hall way leading to the swimming pool, in fact no one really gave it much thought or so it seemed at the time. The one thing that is why in this day and age of openness and acceptance such a thing would never happen and be fodder for lawsuits towards school districts and accusations of teacher perversion. I mean wasn’t it more conservative back then? Wasn’t modesty more prevalent? Apparently not for we all got naked and paraded around as instructed without any thought of impropriety.
Many years later a teacher at Northeast told me that since our skinny dipping days that studies have shown that at least 5% of all teenagers are Gay or at least lean in that direction and the practice was stopped. If that is true I suppose the percentage has not changed much and that means that in the 1965 graduating class of more than 500 there were at least 25 of our class mates when standing around naked with the same sex were very uncomfortable and considered by officials as psychologically damaging.
I can honestly say that to this day I have no inkling of who the 25 might have been. We had some frail looking kids, some shy kids, and some kids that were just strange but to consider them Gay or in those days we said queer or homo never even occurred to me. The part that bothers me the most is that those who were (and I suspect they were not the shy, frail, or strange ones) must have suffered and done so in silence. What stress they must have gone through each swim day or while taking the mandatory shower after PE.
Kids are more open and accepting today but I bet many kids still suffer and think they are some kind of deviant and are picked on or bullied. School officials have recognized this problem and have implemented programs and procedures to eradicate the tyranny of the majority. I suspect the problem is becoming less and less even though it would not seem like it if you were the target of such harassment.
I don’t know what the swimming attire is now or how many of the schools even have pools nor do I have any clue if showering after PE is mandatory. If I were to ask the school system I would probably be put on a watch list of some sort and when I ran for president some day my asking the question would be made public and the only support I would receive would be from the Rainbow Coalition.