My role with Hampshire County Council
I am a mobile Library Driver / Library Assistant with the School Library Service, which supports and supplies libraries in schools, so they can foster high levels of literacy, and enable children to become independent readers and researchers. I drive a 10 tonne mobile library to schools, and deal with children, teachers, parent helpers and teaching assistants.
I identify myself as a gay man.
I am the youngest of five children, and my parents were in their 40’s when I was born. Coming out as gay was simply not an option, not least because of my Roman Catholic education.
It took a personal crisis in 2010 to make me face up to reality and stop repressing my attraction to other men. I am now 58 years old, and have turned my life around in ways I would have thought impossible in the 1990’s.
I sing with Southampton Gay Men’s Chorus, and I’m an active member of OutdoorLads.com
Previous to that I expended a huge amount of emotional energy to force myself not to admit the simple truth to myself.
Why it is important to be a role model
I make a point of not hiding my sexuality from the large numbers of people I meet both within Hampshire County Council and outside it. People can see that essentially I am pretty much the same as them: the same day to day problems and challenges. In April 2017 my partner of two years died unexpectedly, aged 51. Gay people have to deal with bereavement and loss just as straight people do.
Most people I meet are very tolerant of homosexuality, but less so of transgender issues. But tolerance is not the same as understanding and complete acceptance, of difference. It is important to tackle this by saying ‘I just am’.