Pella Douglas-Cripps - LGBT role model

Contact Centre Team Manager - Hantsdirect

My role in Hampshire County Council

I am an advisor and DPA Co-ordinator in Hantsdirect, Hampshire County Council's customer contact centre. I am passionate about delivering excellent customer service and am committed to helping the people of Hampshire however I can.

My identity

I suppose that I identify myself as a transgendered woman, however, I hate labels and prefer the term ‘me.’ I find gender roles too restrictive, and although I consider myself to be feminine, I have many facets to my character – some which are masculine, some of which are feminine. The most important thing to me is that after many years I am finally comfortable with who I am and since moving to Hampshire 3 years ago, I have never been happier.

Why it is important to be a role model

Being a role model is something that I aspire to, rather something I consider myself to be. The important thing for me is breaking down barriers and reducing prejudice. I am open and try to answer all questions put to me about my life (within the bounds of good taste!) in the hopes that I can create understanding and tolerance for people in a similar situation.

I grew up, and spent my first 40 years, in the North-East of England, where I endured plenty of prejudice – even from my own family. I lost pretty much everyone I loved when I first came out. There were no role models for me, only plenty of people telling me how ‘wrong’ I was.

Things changed when I met my partner. I have never met a kinder, gentler, more compassionate person than him. I moved to Hampshire because of Ian, and I have never once looked back. I want to be a role model because I know what it’s like to be alone, a surrounded by intolerance and bigotry. I know what it’s like to be different, and I know it’s like to meet someone who understands and has compassion to let you become your true self. And I want to be someone who can help others do exactly that.

Joining Hampshire County Council was another watershed moment – Walking into a call centre of 120 people was one of the most nerve-wracking days of life. Fortunately, it turned out to be one of the best days too. I finally found a place where I was accepted for who I am. I’m not perfect, however, and it has taken a long time to settle in and to overcome my own fears. But I have slowly built many successful working relationships within the company and this has taught me an important life lesson – never give up and all keep going – even if it takes baby steps, you get there eventually. I am still terrified of crowds and large groups of people, but I have taken my first steps in becoming a trainer at Hantsdirect, proving to myself that it can be done.

Pella Douglas