'I’ve been bullied my whole life for being gay': Nurse details battle with homophobia in book

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Georgie Calverley says his living his best life as a open gay man living in the UK and working as a male nurse
Georgie Calverley says his living his best life as a open gay man living in the UK and working as a male nurse
  • Georgie Calverley has written a self-published book detailing his life as a gay man and how becoming a qualified nurse changed his life for the better.
  • He left his country of birth 20 years ago, settling in the UK.
  • He has no plans to move back to South Africa anytime soon, but hopes the book will inspire young people going through what he has endured.  

After a harrowing childhood characterised by bullying for being gay, a Durban nurse has documented the psychological trauma and abuse he endured growing up "different".

Georgie Calverley, 54, has been living in the UK for the past two decades.

It took him 16 years to pen his memoir, which he hopes will give hope to young people experiencing what he had gone through.

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The self-published author of A Coloured in Full Flight said the pandemic gave him time to gather his thoughts and put pen to paper for about four hours a day, locked in his room.

The biography sees him unpack being sexually abused by an older cousin and the anguish he suffered as a pupil being bullied owing to his sexual orientation and for being "different".

"I knew from a young age that I wasn't into [women]. Everyone around me knew it and chose to treat me differently," he said.

Calverley recalled feeling isolated and alone, finding ways to cope and survive while others were, according to him, out to make his life "a living hell".

The relative who abused him died a few years after Calverley immigrated.

They never spoke about what had transpired, he said.

Recounting how "everyone treated [him] like a girl" and how he would assume the role of a female friend during childhood games, Calverley said as he grew older, the harassment he experienced also changed.

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"The bullies left me alone, choosing to rather shout homophobic words at me."

After completing his schooling, he attended Coronation Nursing College Johannesburg where he completed a three-year diploma in nursing science and midwifery.

Calverley worked at various private hospitals in the city.

"I had the grades, but would always be belittled for being a 'sissy' or a 'moffie' in the nursing profession."

The book that has been published by nurse Georgie

He said he had no plans on moving to the UK, but when the opportunity arose to make use of his profession in a different country, he grabbed the opportunity.

Calverley added he enjoyed being of service to people in need.

I look back at my life in SA, and I realise I was put through the most just because of my sexuality. It's still very emotional that I had to leave my country of birth to feel ‘normal’ because I wasn’t experiencing it back home.

"Life is so much different away from SA. I like my life as a gay person. I walk down the street wearing what I want to wear, holding hands with my … partner, and without stares or insults."

He said when he wore nail polish, no one asked him a million questions.

Calverley's book also explores issues of acceptance.

"I take readers on my journey into the gay community as a young adult and how instead of being openly accepted, I faced so much prejudice within a group I expected to welcome and appreciate me for being a social minority - then and now.

"Bullying is corrosive, ugly and often leads to mental, social or psychological issues or problems. We can, and we must do better. My book will have a lot of people nodding their heads with the truths I speak of because whether you are straight or gay, you can relate to the points."

He said he had no plans on moving back to South Africa anytime soon, but hoped people would take time to understand the LQBTQIA+ community better.

"We are loveable people. Like anyone else, we are on the planet to make a success of our life and spread positive vibes. Surely that's not a crime?"

To purchase his book, email gdc1967@gmail.com
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