LGBT+ History Month is a powerful reminder: being a gay woman has not always been easy. However, when I look back, I have been lucky to have a family and friends who have always accepted me for who I am.
There is still much to do to ensure that people perceived as different from ‘normal’ are treated in an equal way.
I worked in London for many years in a male-dominated organisation and was once told, “well, you only got promotion because you are a woman and gay”.
No, I got them because I deserved them!
During the 2015 election campaign, I was asked if I thought it was suitable that I should be a councillor. I attempted to understand why I was so unsuitable, but gave up when it became obvious the lady was not for turning.
We all have a responsibility to ensure that whoever we are and whatever our beliefs they are respected.
I have two gay portfolio holders. Are they there because they are gay? No, it’s because they are the right people.
We have moved forward a lot in my lifetime, but not enough. Young people still have to fight for their rights. I often ask myself, why do we have to fight for gay rights?
The acceptance is skin deep, and that needs to change – not just in local government, but throughout our society.
As councillors, we have a responsibility to embrace all, so we get to a point where we are not defined by our gender, ethnicity, religion or sexuality.