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s2 e8: "Kiss my rump" transcript

The Log Books - transcript - Season 2 Episode 8
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Season 2 Episode 8 - “Kiss My Rump”

Date: 04.01.2021

Season: 2

Episode: 8

Presenters: Tash Walker, Adam Zmith

Contributors: Catherine, Ruth, Carla Ecola, Lisa Power, Richard Desmond, Kaley Foran and all the other readers and Switchboard volunteers

Producers: Shivani Dave, Tash Walker, Adam Zmith

Music: Tom Foskett-Barnes

Artwork: Natalie Doto

TW: This episode contains stories about suicide, sexual consent and underage sex

[telephone dial tone, music]

Speaker (0:41): This is a log book entry from October 24th ,1986. The volunteer who took the call was Kathy. ‘It is very likely that a 15 year old girl called Diane will be ringing us. She's been referred by the deputy head of her school. She's come out at school and is getting a lot of stick from the other girls. Apparently the whole school knows - exclamation mark.’

Speaker 2 (1:08): This is a log book entry from September 19th, 1985. ‘School girl rang to ask for Terrence Higgins Trust number. The form is going to support them this month.

TW: Cute! That’s so sweet that they want to support THT.

AZ: Yeah that's- that's really good. That's kind of surprising in 1985.

TW: Yeah

AZ: That the awareness would be at the level of, like, a girl at school.

TW: Yeah

AZ: And, like, wanting to do that- support that. That's good. It sounds like from that first log book entry that the person almost, like, didn't choose to come out at school.

TW: Yeah.

AZ: Well, it does say she's come out at school, but she's getting a lot of stick from the other girls.

TW: I came out at school but I think, on reflection, I would have liked to speak to someone about it.

AZ: Mmm. I did not come out at school.

TW: (laughs)

AZ: (laughs) Erm… that is not my story.

TW: Yeah I fell in love with a girl in the year above me. She joined our school at sixth form. So I was in Year 11, and I remember her walking across the school field on crutches and turning to my friend, Suhaylah, and just being like, ‘oh my god, who is that? I wanna be her friend,’ and Suhaylah just being like, ‘I think you’re gay, Tash.’ She was right.

AZ: You look like you're still looking out into the distance of the school field now.

TW: Sorry I'm back, I’m back.

AZ: Okay good. Good. Let's do this episode.

[intro music swells]

TW: You're listening to The Log Books, stories from Britain's LGBTQ+ history and conversations about being queer today.

AZ: In partnership with Switchboard, the LGBT+ helpline. I'm Adam Zmith

TW: And I'm Tash Walker. In this season we're reading through the notes made by the volunteers who took calls between 1983 and 1991.

[music swells and finishes]

AZ: Episode 8: “Kiss My Rump”

TW: We're gonna be talking about young people

AZ: And the voices in this episode, include teachers, a school girl from the mid 80s, Switchboard volunteers, of course, as usual, and someone who took the UK government to court over his right to have sex.

TW: Being young was hard, wasn’t it, Adam?

AZ: (laughs) Err I think I'm still young, thank you very much. At 35. Like, I'm not even halfway through my life yet.

TW: It’s tough though, isn’t it?

AZ: It is.

TW: Like your body's changing. You have no idea who you are. Your identity’s all over the shop. You’re going through so much.

AZ: Yeah. Hair appearing. Like, sprouting through. Um-

TW: Speak for yourself, Adam. I- yeah I don’t know, like, when I was really, really young- my parents were not surprised when I came out. My dad said he’d always known, but I definitely went through a phase when I was really young. Like, four- three or four or so, where I asked everyone to call me Jason, and I went into Jason character for a long time. I would only respond to Jason.

AZ: (laughs) Jason-

TW: And I had a picture of Jason Donovan above my bed and so-

AZ: Too many broken hearts in the world

TW: Yeah! And so everyone thought that I had, like, a crush on him, like a really young kid crush, but I just wanted to be Jason because he got to go out with Kylie- (laughs)

AZ: On Neighbours!

TW: On Neighbours, yeah.

AZ: Wow. It's funny how, like, you sometimes do things that kinda accidentally reveal your future sexuality, you know.

TW: Yeah.

AZ: Like childhood icons.

TW: Well, no- Jason was my icon. Kylie was-

AZ & TW: Kylie was the object. (both laugh)

AZ: She was- um.

TW: Kylie was my dream girl, I guess.

AZ: So our first story of this episode takes us back to school, back to the 80s, with our contributor Rebecca, who’s remembering a story about a school project about her childhood icon.

Rebecca: I can remember instances, even being a primary school, where um- you- I don’t think the word gay or lesbian was really known, but I do remember being about 9, so this would have been ‘84/85’ perhaps. We had a school project where we had to write to famous celebrities, and my friends and I decided to write to Martina Navratilova, and I can’t say that wasn’t done without some kind of mischie, but we decided to write to her and we’d written the letter and um- the teacher got wind of it, and she took us to one side and said ‘write to Roger Moore instead.’ You know, as though writing to a man in his, maybe sixties, who played, you know, James Bond would be any more appropriate than writing to a female sports personality, so it was always there.

Ruth: When you’re a teacher, you’re watched all the time. Everything that you do conveys a message. Hi, I’m Ruth. I'm a teacher, a lesbian, a survivor of Section 28, and a Switchboard volunteer. So, as a teacher, you’re a role model. A role model is a responsible member of society, and in a secondary school, you exemplify your subject area, and you have to be authentic because teenagers see right through you.

Speaker 3 (6:33): Then we’d have teachers phoning up, you know, almost in tears. You know, ‘I’ve got this young gay kid who keeps asking me where they should go, what they should do, is there anyone I can talk to? And I can’t tell them anything. I can’t say, you know, this is the number for Switchboard, why don’t you phone up? Or this is a young- this is a group for young LGBT kids.’ They couldn’t give that information. They weren’t allowed to. They could lose their jobs.

TW: It must be so hard to have been one of those teachers, feeling so trapped, that you couldn't support those kids in that way.

AZ: And then on the other side, there’s the young person, who might be, like, suffering privately and finding it difficult to, like, find someone to talk to, or just not daring to talk to anybody for whatever reason. We’ve actually got a log book entry about that, someone phoning Switchboard, and just to warn you that this log book entry mentions suicide.

Speaker 4 (7:31): This is a log book entry from March the 9th, 1986. The volunteer who took the call was Pete. ‘Today I took what I consider to be my first ever serious suicide call from a young teenage boy called Jay, whose mother found out that he was gay and won't let him out the house, except to go to school. Nothing I could say seemed to persuade him that things could possibly get better, but in the end I got him to concede that he ought to give himself a chance, and should talk to Parents Enquiry or one of the gay youth groups. He said he would ring back and let us know how he got on or if he needed more suggestions, so if anyone gets a call from an Asian teenager called Jay, from Neasedon, please let me know.’

Ruth: I remember talking to a head of year, at the school. This is an important memory. I can remember it vividly, as if it was yesterday. We were at the height of the AIDS crisis. People would die and our community was decimated. I remember discussing the pastoral curriculum- what we now call PSHE: Personal, Social, Health Education. It was called the pastoral curriculum then, and I was in a corridor and I happened to say to the Head of Year, who was in charge of that curriculum, should we mentioned something about same sex relationships, and AIDS and HIV? And I remember her, as clear as day, turning to me and saying, ‘we can’t do that Ruth, because it’s against the law.’ What could I do? What could I say? I’ve been teaching less than 3 years. She was my pastoral line manager. What could I do?

[tense music]

AZ: It's really hard to hear Ruth talk about that now, decades later and, you know, she's still thinking: what could I do? Like, what could I have done in that situation? You know, it was her senior saying ‘don't talk about that.’ There was a law at the time: Section 28, which we've mentioned in previous episodes. You know, the law that basically banned er- public bodies and authorities from promoting homosexuality

TW: Yeah

AZ: Which meant that teachers couldn't talk about LGBTQ+ life and that just put this veil of fear around teachers and people like Ruth.

TW: Yeah you can hear it in Ruth’s voice, just how much that still sticks with her today. And we've got another story now from Catherine, who's also a gay teacher, unable to help a student in 1990.

Catherine: I decided to write about my experiences in teaching, so this is the December of my first year teaching. It's a freezing cold December. Saturday night. The end of a long term is approaching and I’m exhausted. My partner Sarah and I have our friends, Sue and Diana, over for the weekend, and they’re keen to go out in Liverpool and explore the gay scene. Despite feeling wiped out and shattered, Sarah and I agree to take our guests to a local gay bar, with a vain hope that we might enjoy it when we get there. As we descend the stairs into the dark, damp, musty space, I ask myself a question I’ve asked a thousand times. Why do gay bars never have windows? Why are they always underground in dark, dingy basements? As I get to the bottom of the stairs, I hear the deafening throb of undistinguishable dance music, and feel the familiar sensation of the beer-soaked sticky carpet, squelching beneath my feet. Diane hands me a bottle of beer, and bends in towards my ear to make conversation with me. Suddenly, I feel very uncomfortable. From behind me, I’m aware of someone watching our group. I turn quickly to see Julia, one of the sixth form students from my school, standing with a friend I don’t recognise. I finally make Sarah understand that we have to leave and our confused and annoyed guests finish their beer and follow us back up to street level, and out of the club. We go home. The night is ruined. I vow to myself that I’ll never go out in Liverpool again, and spend all night awake, second guessing what will await me on Monday morning at school. I get into school early and all seems to be as it should. No sign of Julia, no comments from pupils, no summons from the head teacher. I began to think that I’d got away with my mistake. Feeling relieved, I head out onto the field with my cross-country class, but just as I am about to set them up on the course, the gate to the field opens, and I glimpse Julia standing behind me.

‘I just want to say that I’m really sorry for spoiling your night, and I just want to ask you not to tell anyone where I was, because if this gets around the sixth form, I’ll just die.’

‘You shouldn’t be in a place like that,’ I tell her, angrily. ‘You’re not even 18.’

Julia starts to cry and I feel a mix of compassion, anger and relief. ‘I’ve thought for ages that I might be gay,’ she blurts out, in between sobs, ‘and I just wanted to see what it was like at a club.’

I take a deep breath. I remember being her age. I remember the terror of realising I didn’t feel like all the other girls did, but Julia holds my professional future at this convent school carelessly in her hands. ‘Look, you’re still very young, and I promise you, you’re not gay, and even if you are, don’t be. That place is no place for you to be on a Saturday night. It's a nasty place, full of nasty people, so stay away. If the police raid it, everyone will know you were there, your Mum, Dad, everyone.’

That evening, as I relayed the story to Sarah, I suddenly feel wretched and appalled at myself. Julia did not exploit me as I expected her to, but rather reached out for some help, empathy and support. [music] Reading that now, I feel devastated. I feel embarrassed and weak. This… this was somebody who was still experiencing Section 28, was experiencing Section 28, as a pupil, where there was nobody to talk to. There was nobody to get support from, and she’d taken a- taken a punt on coming to talk to me, and I absolutely, metaphorically slammed a door in her face, and I wanted to protect her, I think. I have to- I think about this a lot, and I do feel that I let her down. I let her down hugely, and just to say, you know, ‘it’s a nasty place, full of nasty people.’ It wasn’t a nasty place, it was the only- one of the only places I ever truly felt as though I could be myself, other than the home that I was in, with my partner.

TW: ‘It’s a nasty place, full of nasty people.’ I mean, it’s really hard to listen to that story. You really feel for Catherine, but also the kid, and I was- I was that young person. I did try to talk to two of my teachers.

AZ: What happened?

TW: It’s the same. They just couldn't support me. It’s really nice for me to hear the other side of the story through Catherine and through Ruth.

AZ: Yeah

TW: And it, you know, makes me realise that it was just such a complicated and difficult time.

AZ: I think it's so great of Catherine and Ruth, actually now, to be reflecting on these experiences that they had and for Catherine actually to admit, you know- I also hope that she knows, and all those other people in her shoes know, that- you know, that was the climate at the time, and yeah- and the law and everything.

TW: Yeah exactly, you know I just- who knows how you- one would have reacted if you had been in Catherine or Ruth’s shoes.

AZ: Yeah ‘cause you’re scared of losing your job

TW: Yeah

AZ: And like, it’s everything that you've trained for, and you’re a teacher, like this an important job

TW: And you’re gay in a homophobic world

AZ: Yeah- exactly. Exactly. Exactly.

TW: Yeah.

[sound of a page turning, music]

Carla: This is a log book entry from September 1983. The volunteer who took the call was Mark. ‘After a fascinating talk with a 15 year old woman from London about the trouble she's had at school as a result of writing a pro-gay project, hearing her stories of the reactionary attitudes of teachers and peers at school, she gave me some her poetry: When my time is over and I’m no longer this old frump / I hope the world buries me upside down so the world can kiss my rump. - Ronnie, she’ll go far.’ Another volunteer writes, ‘this month’s star entry!’


Speaker 5 (17:02): This is a log book entry from May 6th 1984. The volunteer who took the call was Donna. ‘I’ve just had two hoax calls from a bunch of 11 year olds. The first time they rang we had a very erudite conversation about Judy Garland. They then phoned back and serenaded me with a full version, in tune, of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Teeny bop high camp - wonderful!

TW: Now we're going to talk about the calls where volunteers had to handle issues around the age of sexual consent. It was unequal between different sexualities at this time, so it was 16 for men and women having sex, 21 for men having sex with men, and no statutory age of consent for women having sex with women.

AZ: So there are these, like, different legal categories depending on what sex you have, and there are, like, firm legal lines, but it was definitely unequal, and in the case of men who have sex with men especially, there were all these blurred lines around, like, young sexuality.

Speaker 4 (18:15): This is a log book entry from the 11th June 1984. ‘Man over 40 rang, called James, called to say that he has befriended a 16 year old gay boy. The 16 year old can't tell his parents that he's gay and is a frightened boy, insecure and seeking affection. James was well aware of the age of consent law and doesn't want a sexual relationship with him, but is very fond of him. The 16 year old wants affection and sex, but James had explained that the latter was definitely out of the question. I urged the caller to encourage the 16 year old to contact London Gay Teenage Group. He’d tried already but he promised to try again. I also encouraged him to write to Parents Enquiry and explain the situation and ask for their comments. James is an ex-alcoholic, dry for 5 years, working at AA. I told him I'd logged his call, just in case he's accused of anything illegal.’ Another log book entry, dated 16th of June, a couple of days later, says: ‘Friends of James rang up to say that he has now run away with the 16 year old. The parents are now obviously concerned. He's really put his foot in it, hasn't he?’

Lisa: There were constant debates in Switchboard, right through my time there, about issues around the age of consent for gay men. Effectively there was no age of consent for lesbians, and we would occasionally have discussions with people who were worried about age gaps, but much, much rarer than gay men and the calls varied between what do we do with guys who were 15/16/17 who knew they were gay, and wanted to come out, and wanted to go places, and effectively the only place in London that we could send them was the London Gay Teenage Group, and even less places around the rest of the country. Um- for a lot of that time, we would get calls from men who had just- who started a relationship with someone and then discovered that they were 19 or 20 and were freaking out because they were legally liable. We got blackmail calls from people who were being blackmailed by under age men or men who said they were under age, who were then blackmailing them after sex. Sometimes it had been paid-for sex. Sometimes it was just someone they’d picked up in a bar, and that was very difficult.

Speaker 6 (20:46): I suppose I see a connection in the sense of an intense unwillingness, in certain sections of British society, to acknowledge that change is happening and has happened, and- and tied in of course on that particular issue, a deep unwillingness to think about young people as sexual creatures, and an insistance that if a child seems to have any sort of sexual awareness, or seems to experience anything that might be called desire, that is, in itself, proof that it has been a victim of sexual abuse, because a real child, a proper child, has no such feelings.

AZ: And we have a story that really illustrates the complexities in this area, don’t we Tash?

TW: We’re gonna bring Richard back. You remember him from Episode 2. He was talking to us about contracting HIV and losing- and losing his partner Bob. But before all of that, he was a 16 year old young man about to do something very brave.

Lisa: Let's be honest, Richard Desmond had 2 goes at being a Switchboard volunteer and the second time it stuck, but the first time around he was 16, which was well below the age of consent. He was very excitable as a volunteer and I remember having to tell him to calm down quite often when he took a calls. He would get very excited with them and very noisy and when you had 3 or 4 people in a very small phone room, you really had to learn to- to not interfere with each other's calls by yelling. (laughs)

Richard: So I was young. The rule about Switchboard not having volunteers under 18 is because of me. My late father found out, having had a drink as he was wont to do… um- and said, you know, ‘you’re corrupting my son, I’m going to contact The Daily Mail.’ This caused somewhat panic and co-ordinating committee, as was, dispatched Lisa Power to talk to me.

Lisa: But I remember the issue for us all was, that he could get Switchboard closed down, and it was horrible. It was absolutely horrible because he was mostly a perfectly good volunteer apart from the shouting, when he got excited. People were very fond of him, but actually, we had to put Switchboard first, and it was awful because we all felt like we were betraying what we were there for, but we decided that Richard had to leave, and of course muggins here was the one who had to tell him that. I had to tell Richard that he had to leave Switchboard and that we were very sorry, and he could come back when his Dad quietened down.

Richard: Lisa said to me, ‘You’re going to resign, aren’t you?’ and I said, ‘Yes, Lisa,’ and I’ve been saying, ‘Yes, Lisa,’ ever since. When I resigned, it was on the basis I could reapply 10 years later. I did. I rejoined Switchboard in 1993.

Lisa: And thank god he did come back, a few years later, and has been a staunt volunteer ever since, and I find it very funny ‘cause I still remember Richard as that 16 year old firebrand, you know. When you’re- once you’re old, you have- it’s almost like this long- it’s like a slinky- long drawn-out memory of someone at all their ages, and I find it very funny sometimes when I go into Switchboard now and everybody’s treating Richard as the funny old guy, who says, ‘in my day, we used to…’ I can remember him being the challenging teen. (laughs).


Richard: Like so many other things in my life, the age of consent case goes back to the teenage group, another Sunday afternoon. For some reason I was milling around the office at the back of the teenage group- little tiny office at the back, where our helpline was- our phone line was, and we had a couple of visitors, a man called Peter Ashman, and another called Nigel Warner. They were looking for somebody who was 16, who could get their parents to sign the consent forms. I clarified if this needed to be both parents, or a parent. Peter Ashman, now I know to be a phenomenal international barrister of enormous repute and incredible kindness. Um this was the first time we met, I didn’t know any of this. Peter Ashman said, ‘yes, just one parent.’ Because my dear mother had had brain surgery in 1966, removing a tumour from her front right lobe of her brain, um- she was suggestable, and far as mother concerned, I could do no wrong. So my suggestion to her that she did something, more or less guaranteed it got done, and so I took mother along to the upstairs bar of the Edward VI, with Nigel Warner and Peter Ashman and they explained it all in detail, which all went over mother’s head, just as much as it did mine, I suspect. She signed the forms. From the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967, the age of consent for men to have sex with men was 21, and it was 21 in private, and the definition of in private is when a third person cannot enter. It was never fully tried. There was always this theory that, you know, you could be done for having sex in hotels- it’s not private. I don’t think there were really ever any prosecutions about that, but it was a court- it was over 21 in private. The case is technically ‘Desmond versus the UK’. Because I was 16, it was done as ‘anonymous versus the UK.’ I’ve got all the paperwork still. I was given new copies recently by Nigel Warner. I was admitting being a criminal. I- there was a degree of protection in law, if you’re going to appear in the Court of Human Rights, but I was saying I was a criminal. I was 16 and I was having sex, and I stood up and I admitted this, and it was in quite detailed submissions to the court, which looking- looking at them now, are quite funny, but- yes. I, as a 16 year old, admitted having sex. Peter warned me of notoriety. Peter warned me that, had we succeeded, I would be notorious. Um… it didn’t happen. One Friday night I think, Bob, my late partner, came into work, came into the cellar bar, saying that, ‘I’ve had a phone call and the case had failed,’ but it went to the Commission of Nation States before it got to the court, and the Commission made a ruling that individual states were allowed to set their own rules about moral issues, and sexuality, in the view of the court, was a moral issue. Professor Paul Johnson, the person who wrote the book about LGBT Strasbourg cases, points out that it normally takes 2 or 3 attempts before the court makes any ruling. Mine was the first attempt. There were several other European Court human rights cases before we got equality, but mine was the first, and it proved that it was possible to do it, even though we didn’t succeed. It’s quite odd that 40 years later, I’m being reminded of it and it’s nice to get some credit for it because I was anonymous then, and more importantly and to be fair, I have to give some credit to my Mum because it is her- it was her that signed the forms.


Lisa: Richard wasn’t just a Switchboard volunteer around this time. He was also the first person to take the UK to the European Court of Human Rights and his name isn't in the record because he had to be ‘Anon versus the UK government’ because he was 16 and he was illegal. It was incredible that he was- that he did so much amazing stuff as a teenager. He was fearless. It's just a pity that his Dad was not very helpful. His Mum was great, but his Dad was very unhelpful.

[slow piano music, typewriter sound]

TW: You know, now in 2020, these issues are still very very much present.

AZ: There have recently been some changes in schools in England about sex and relationship education, which is always an awkward conversation.

TW: And a complicated one, especially with coronavirus and the impact it's had on completely upending teachers and students' lives. You know, teachers are pretty justifiably stressed out right now.

AZ: Shout out to Tash’s sister.

TW: (laughs)

AZ: And that's just as they were bringing in these changes. So here's someone who knows all about that.

[music, typewriter sound]

Kaley: I’m Kaley Foran. I'm a specialist in school leadership at The Key for school leaders. The Key is a school leadership and governance support service that supports head teachers, school business managers, and members of the senior leadership and middle leadership teams in schools up and down the country. Section 28 obviously prevented teachers from talking about LGBT issues in schools, particularly as it related to their- as it relates to their personal lives or anything else. The more recent guidance that schools are implementing now is a pretty big change from that actually, in terms of the introduction of statutory relationships and sex education. As a result of all of the disruption related to covid, the government sort of pushed that back a little bit, so if schools were ready and ready to go, in terms of delivering these new requirements, they absolutely could do, but for a lot of schools that we've been speaking to actually they weren’t ready. They haven't got around to doing all the statutory consultations and things that they needed to do before schools closed in March, so they kind of- they kicked the can down the road a little bit. Now we're looking at a January introduction, in terms of when schools have to start delivering this curriculum. So the government is being pretty clear that schools should ensure that their teaching is sensitive to their pupils, and to the lives their pupils lead, and it says that kind of at the point where schools consider teaching their pupils about LGBT lives and LGBT issues, that that should be fully integrated into their programme of study. It's not like a bolt on, where you get to the end and you go: ‘Some people are gay.’ This is a much more- if you are talking about families, you are talking about all families, and if you're talking about sexual orientation, you're talking about, you know, the whole spectrum of those things. If you're talking about gender, you're talking about gender in a wider context, not just not that- that binary that used to be the norm, and so there's a much more inclusive line here. The guidance does give schools the flexibility to talk about LGBT issues in a way that is sensitive to their communities, and indeed to the character of their school. So, for instance, faith-based schools or, you know, schools that are kind of overseen by a diocese, for example- that organization may provide some specific guidance or a specific kind of viewpoint, you know, the church's viewpoint on gay marriage, for example. They're still providing schools with the flexibility to speak to their communities in a way that reflects their values and beliefs, but what schools don't have the choice in doing is acknowledging that LGBT people exist and that the- the rights that they are afforded, and the other thing that the government has kind of insisted is that for relationships and sex education, that schools consult with stakeholders in their communities, so that includes staff and pupils, but it also includes parents and in any kind of wider community groups. So in a faith school that might include a religious body or representatives of a religious body, like a priest or a rabbi or imam or something, but it also- it just includes everyone who interacts with the school in a meaningful way. It gives the opportunity for LGBT people and LGBT parents and community groups to look at what the school is planning to offer and go: ‘Hey I don't- I don't see my kid here. I don't see myself here. I think I should see myself reflected in this curriculum. I think my child should see me reflected or our neighbour reflected in the curriculum,’ and so, while there is that nuance, the government is basically insisting that this is a conversation between the school and the community. We work a lot with school leaders and the biggest issue that they've had around the implementation of this guidance is this consultation bit, and it's not because actually doing the consultation it's hard, it's because you get all of these different groups within your school, who are exercising their voice, as they should well be able to, about what the curriculum looks like, and it's hard for schools to strike a balance between reflecting the community as they see it- sort of reflecting what the community says it wants, or who the school says they are, but also, because we know that this is really important, but you know from a government guidance in curriculum perspective, preparing pupils for life in modern Britain, where LGBT people exist and they will meet them, and live their lives with them and work with them and so, you know, you have just to strike that balance, which is why the guidance is clear that all types of families have to be represented. All types of people need to be represented. You have to prepare pupils for the society that they're entering. In terms of how school leaders are feeling about all of these changes, I think actually the mood is pretty positive. There have been, you know, early after the announcement, as we kind of alluded to in terms of- sort of- some parent protests in places like Birmingham. On the whole, the pushback has been- not that dramatic. There are- you know, there have been conversations in schools with parents who are very opinionated, and school leaders are definitely used to dealing with that. In terms of the sort of- where this guidance goes and what it's asking schools to do, they're not really worried about push back, they’re feeling quite confident and, like, on the whole, this guidance is the right thing and it's appropriate for where we are now.

[music, typewriter sound]

TW: There are so many calls to Switchboard about people experiencing trouble at home, and sometimes violence out on the street. So in the next episode, we're turning our attention to those survivors.

[slow music]

AZ: Calls to Switchboard are confidential, so to bring the log books to life, we’ve changed the callers’ names. The Log Books is produced by Shivani Dave, Tash Walker and Adam Zmith, in partnership with Switchboard, the LGBT+ helpline.

TW: If you think other people would like The Log Books, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. These ratings and reviews really help others discover the show. You can send us your feedback and stories to, or join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #thelogbooks.

AZ: Our music is by Tom Foskett-Barnes and our artwork is by Natalie Doto.

TW: Thanks to Stef Dickers and team, at the Bishopsgate Institute

AZ: The BFI National Archive

TW: The folks at Acast

AZ: MACE, the Media Archive for Central England

TW: Peter Zacaroli at West Digital

AZ: Content is Queen

TW: The staff and volunteers at Switchboard

AZ: And all the contributors who shared their stories.

TW: Switchboard continues to take phone calls from 10am to 10pm every day. If you're affected by any of the issues in this podcast, or need to discuss anything to do with gender identity or sexuality, you can call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630, email or instant message via, where you can also donate money or time to help.

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