Moira Smyth - LGBT role model

My role in Hampshire County Council - Participation Officer for Children's Services

My role is all about enabling the children of Hampshire especially Children in Care to have their voice heard. It is about working with the children to develop their confidence in saying what they need to say. It is also about helping the organization and team members to hear what they young people are telling us. At its heart I believe it is about creating an environment where young people can be co-creators of our services rather than simply consumers of what we choose to give them.

My identity

I identify as a lesbian. Two years ago I would have identified as female more recently I am of the opinion that I am non-binary (or maybe even two spirits to use the native American term). This is not because I have changed intrinsically but rather because my understanding and vocabulary of gender has developed in the past few years.

My story

Born 1962 in Belfast. Knew I was ‘different’ all my life but learned from early childhood not to say to anyone. But try as I might I always had this ‘tom-boy’ aura so really it was no surprise to anyone but me when I decided to ‘come out’ in my early 30’s. It is a sadness to me that I spent my first 30 years in a sort of half-life, especially when everyone around me knew I was gay. I am now fifty-five. So I sent 30 years trying to cover up and pretend I am not me and then a further 25 years trying to accept and love myself for who I actually am. What a waste!

Why it is important to be a role model

I see role models rather like boulders in a vast and fast flowing river. Each boulder disrupts the flow of the stream and each offers a degree of shelter for others to sit behind. The stream is the tide of opinion or the perceived opinion of others in our society. Where there is fear or silence you could easily believe that everyone is against LGBT+ people. But where there are role-models you can see that these people are accepted and that they are able to flourish in their authentic expression of themselves.

I have never for one moment regretted coming or being out.

Moira Smyth