Laura Ferguson - LGBT role model

Team Manager, Hart and Rushmoor Mental Health and Substance Misuse Team

My role in Hampshire County Council

I work in Adult, Health and Care Services as a Team Manager for Hart and Rushmoor Mental Health and Substance Misuse Team

My identity

I became aware that I was bisexual at an early age and have had several relationship with women (although I now have a husband) throughout my adult life. My teenage years were a very difficult time for me, coming to terms with my attraction to both men and women and understanding what this meant for me as this was a period of high prejudice towards the gay community due to the onset of the AIDS awareness programme. For several years I hid my sexuality from friends and family and eventually in my mid twenties, after an abusive marriage, finally told my friends who were very supportive, and in fact some already knew.

By this time I had 3 children, 2 boys and a girl.

Our story

On my eldest son’s 14th birthday he sat me down and said he had something to tell me, initially I was worried but when he told me he was gay my response was …. I already knew. I’d known since he was about 4 yrs. old as he hated typical boys toys, always had a preference for playing with cookers, hoovers and had very few male friends, preferring the company of girls and latterly joining a local dance and drama school.

For him teenage years was also a very difficult time as he was bullied and tormented at school by his peers for being gay. He experienced having things thrown at him, being spat at and physical attacks on a regular basis with many of these incidents committed by girls he’d known since pre-school which had an even deeper impact as they knew some of his deepest secrets. Being a boy he felt defenceless as he’d always been bought up to be told ‘you don’t hit girls!’.

Having endured this for 18 months with little to no support from the school he tried to take his life as he felt there was no way out, school were not listening to either him or me, the perpetrators family refused to acknowledge that their daughter could do such a thing and as a result the attacks were becoming more vile. Thankfully his attempt failed and the police became involved and through long discussions between the education department and the Police the situation was ‘managed’, however the effects were much longer lasting.

My son is now 26 and through studying to be a counsellor has been able to work through the some of the trauma that he experienced and has in fact has been able to understand and forgive his tormentor as in her own way she was also a victim. He is an active member of the Gay community in Bournemouth and in fact led London’s Gay Pride parade last year with Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders.

Why being a role model is important

I would very much like to support my son by also being a role model, not only as a bisexual woman but as a mother with the most wonderful son who also happens to be gay.

Laura Ferguson