I have served as a Conservative councillor on two controversial local authorities in London for 23 years.
I was involved in Conservative politics long before I became a councillor during a period encompassing Gay Liberation, the Aids crisis, Section 28, and, later, equal marriage and a UK Parliament with more LGBT members than any other.
My personal politics revolve around personal freedom and individual responsibility, which are often described as at the core of the Conservative belief and what has made the Conservative Party the most successful political party in history.
That does not mean the party has always been right.
On LGBT issues, elements of the party were often on the wrong side, though it should not be forgotten that Margaret Thatcher and Enoch Powell were among the minority of their colleagues to vote for legalisation of male homosexuality in the 1960s.
I have never sought to hide who or what I am. I am proud that my colleagues in my group locally and the LGA have elected me to office.
Most of all, I rejoice that I hold political office where sexuality is not an issue and in an environment where, far from “the love that dares not speak its name”, we have pride, and now all celebrate the array of achievements by the LGBT community at every level – particularly within local government.
It has for me and many others been a long and difficult journey, but, in 2021, a journey that has led to happier times.