Gay man’s powerful protest against his private school’s toxic culture

sydney private school student gay man james robinson blazer st kevin's college toorak
Images: James Robinson/Instagram

A gay man has set his old private school blazer alight on the oval of St Kevin’s College to protest the elite Catholic school’s culture of misogyny and homophobia.

James Robinson, who is a photographer, graduated in 2013 from the all-boys secondary college in Melbourne.

In the Instagram post, Robinson admitted breaking onto the school grounds and burning the blazer on Tuesday evening.

He dedicated the photos to “current students and victims of St Kevin’s, and schools like it.”

Robinson addressed the students who “feel their identity is slowly being chipped away by a hyper-masculine culture.”

“I see you, I was you,” he wrote in the caption.

“This protest takes my healing full circle.

“I burn my blazer not in anger, but in hope for regeneration.

“I kiss my partner not in spite, but to bring love back to the only place that ever taught me shame.”

Alleged homophobia, bullying, and misogyny at St Kevin’s College

James Robinson explained he was maliciously outed as gay by his peers who subsequently relentlessly bullied him.

The students faced no consequences for doing so, he wrote.

Robinson described the “dark spiral of self-hate and gay shame the school put me in” that left him suicidal at age 15.

“[It’s] a path I still struggle with well into my twenties,” he said.

He said since his graduation he had explained to staff “how systemic homophobia and racism bled into the curriculum, teaching me to hate myself.”

But in response he received “one dismissive response and a cancelled meeting” from the school’s leadership.

Robinson also shared other serious allegations of bullying, revenge porn, and bribery at the school.


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A post shared by James J. Robinson (@james.pdf)

He described witnessing students bullying a transgender teacher, objectifying female teaching staff and also pulling a knife on a taxi driver. He alleged the principal at the time then paid to keep the incident quiet.

“St Kevin’s is a bubble where privileged young men can rehearse oppression without consequence, before graduating with flying colours into public,” he wrote.

“A place where ‘locker room talk’ exists openly in hallways and classrooms,” he said.

“I saw a system designed to let young boys think they can do anything, assault anyone, and get away with it.”

St Kevin’s graduate’s assault allegations prompted protest

James Robinson explained his protest was sparked by allegations against fellow St Kevin’s graduate, footballer Jordan De Goey.

De Goey was accused of forcibly touched a woman and assaulted a man in New York nightclub.

Police later dropped the charges relating to the woman. However the charges De Goey assaulted the man remain.

Robinson, who lived in New York for several years, explained after hearing the allegations “something snapped in me this time.”

“The patriarchal culture I saw inside the school gates burst out and made its way to New York, my new home for the last five years,” he said.

“(Allegedly) assaulting someone in a city, where many in my queer community, like me, are rape and sexual assault survivors.”

St Kevin’s principal responds to gay man’s protest

St Kevin’s College made headlines in 2019 when students were filmed singing a sexist chant on public transport.

This year, an independent review into the school’s found sexism and misogyny are “still clearly an issue” at school.

After James Robinson’s Instagram post went viral, St Kevin’s principal Deborah Barker wrote to parents and students on Thursday.

Barker explained she had reached out to Robinson, and they will meet in person.

“I genuinely want to listen to, and fully understand, his heartfelt concerns and his personal journey,” she wrote.

“Most importantly, I want James to know that we care for him and acknowledge his courage for speaking out.”

Barker also acknowledged and thanked past and present students for posting messages of support.

She urged them to reach out to teachers and school psychologists if they need support.

If you need support, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

1 Comment

  1. Peter Turner
    5 November 2021

    What an unmitigated pile of crap. Schools like these are notorious for their failure to acknowledge and protect LGBTQI+ students and teachers or anyone who is different. I was bullied extensively at my Christian Brothers school in Ipswich during the 70s. Nothing was ever done to hold the perpetrators to account. then I was systematically abused by the very Principal who should have been protecting me. When I complained to the archbishop I was told to go to another school. There is still a wing of the school named in his honour.

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