At what age did you first realise that you were gay?
When I was 6 I had the first memory of thinking a passing man was attractive but it wasn’t until I was 10 that I first told my mum.
Have your family and friends always been supportive?
Yes, I’ve been very fortunate to only have people around me who have been accepting and supportive. I never had a huge group of friends at school but those I had were close and I suspect that anyone who was close, knew before I told them.
Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?
I had a couple of people growing up, older friends who have helped give me confidence in my sexuality. I’ve always associated with older people and I benefited from their experience and wisdom and that helped me a a great deal but there’s never been ONE specific person.
Have you ever experienced discrimination in life because of your sexuality?
Yes, I have been forced out of two jobs for being gay. Solicitors have commented that it was clearly because I was gay that the employers took a dislike to me yet they were very careful not to say as much. At the same time though, it has been beneficial. Many companies appreciate gay staff because they’re so good with customers, they care and generally work better in customer service environments.
Do you think that the world have become more accepting and welcoming to gay people in more modern times or do you feel that there is still a long way to go?
Definitely. Even since I was young, the attitudes have changed immensely. It has now become in the UK at least, almost a trophy to be gay. People will often be proud to say they have a gay best friend or groups of friends will almost always have a ‘token gay’ guy amongst them because it’s seen as being fashionable. If you don’t know or like gay people, you are almost frowned upon by other groups in society now. That said, there is a LONG way to go before things are equal and there is no discrimination but I am proud of the way society is headed.
What would you say to someone out there who is struggling with their own sexuality or coming out or who is been bullied or discriminated against because of who they are?
I would urge them to be strong, find people like them and try to establish connections with people who think they same as they do. Spend some time in gay areas like the Village in Manchester, Soho in London, you will be able to realise that it’s OK to be gay and that people are all around us in the same situation. Above all, you need to know yourself and be strong enough to stand for what and who you are. Don’t let people smother you and if they are, move, find other people who want to be around the real you.
Are you religious? What do you think of the Church’s attitude towards gay people?
No, I’m not religious. The church in my opinion are extremely hypercritical. Many ministers have been known to be gay, have abused boys in the past and I dare say that many use the Church as a means to cover their sexuality. They don’t marry and claim the church is their wife as an easy way to cover their true feelings. That could be wrong but I suspect there are many gay chuch folk out there too scared to be themselves. The Church is responsible for a lot of hatred and discrimination and of all people you’d expect to be supportive and loving, they can be the worst.
Are you political? If so, is there any organisations whose work you particularly admire?
No, I’m not political but I do have views on current events such as the break up of the UK with Scotland wanting to leave the union. I also have views on immigration, unemployment etc. I do feel that all politicians are truly in it for themselves, there are very few politicians in power who are the ‘common man’ and who have the power to change things for the greater good of ‘Joe Public’.
That said, there are organisations like Stonewall, The British Heart Foundation and many others who all play important roles in trying to make life better for people.
Have you ever been in love?
Many times. I am now. I love my long term partner and I have loved many times before. I’m currently coming to terms with the death of someone I loved very much. I firmly believe you can love more than one person and each love is unique and does not belittle the love you have for another.
Are you married? If so, what was your wedding day like? If not would you like to get married someday?
No we’re not. I often think about it but my partner is scared that if we were to marry, we would affect our 14-year relationship and we don’t want anything to change. We’re happy how we are.
Are you a father? If so, what does fatherhood mean to you? If not would you like to be a father someday?
No but I would love to be. My partner says he hates kids but he doesn’t. He loves my nephews like they are his own, as do I. I doubt I will ever be a father but I would very much to have children. Who knows?