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Will, born 1974


Will, 33 is mixed race. He was born in Hartlepool and brought up in Grimsby in Lincolnshire. He moved to Birmingham in 1995 when he was 21 to be in a larger more diverse city with a gay scene. He talks about coming out and being homophobically attacked and abused on several occasions. This led to his involvement with the Birmingham Police Forum and he describes their work.


Religion - Catholicism - 10
Schooldays - 10
Coming out to family - 30+40
Being outed - 80
Coming out at work - 80
First gay feelings - 20
Moving to Birmingham - 50
The gay scene - 60
Birmingham Police Forum - 100
London Pride - 110
Homophobic Abuse - 70 40 80
Civil Partnerships - 90
Black people's attitude to gays 70
Labour Party - 90
Gay rights - 90, 110

10 School days

"My school days were quite rough, I went to a Catholic primary and secondary school, it was impossible to be gay as Catholics teach homosexuality is not normal. I had to keep my sexuality a secret all through my school days, which was really difficult; it was an oppressive, horrible time. I also got no proper gay sex education, which is bad."

20 Realising I was gay

"I realised I was gay about 14, that rush of hormones when you hit puberty. I started fancying guys and thought I would grow out of it. It's a bit weird; you get all these feelings and are not sure."

30 Coming out to family

"I came out aged about 19 (1993), to my mother for the first time. I made a half hearted comment saying I was gay, when she was going on about me getting a girlfriend. My mother was not happy about it from what I can remember."

40 Attacked aged 21 and coming out

"Unfortunately when I was 21 (1995) I was attacked by a guy, it really traumatised me. I came back to stay with my parents and I told them I was gay".

50 Moving to Birmingham

"I moved to Birmingham to be in a bigger city, in Grimsby there was no gay life. A big city is a new place where no one knows me and I can be myself".

60 Going on the gay scene

"I went out on the scene on my own (1995). Sometimes you don't know what to expect. I was not scared. It was liberating and refreshing as you were on a scene where you could be yourself and in an all male environment, I felt very comfortable."

70 Homophobia from black youths

Will (who is mixed race) talks about the homophobia he has experienced from black people. "To be honest the only homophobia I've experienced has been from black youths, they are the ones that hate the fact gay people exist and they verbalise that hatred, it's to do with culture and religion. I'm not saying everyone but a lot of the people I have come across, they say there is no such thing as gay and men should not be gay, maybe I got it because I am mixed race myself 'How can a mixed race guy be gay?' and they see it only as white thing."

Will discusses his feelings while being homophobically abused "It was horrible, I'm not the only person who's been through it, it's very, very stressful, you are scared to go out and you don't know what to do. The people abusing you are bullies and the only way to deal with them is go to the Council and the police".The first time he was abused, in 1995 aged 21, Will did not know you could go to the police and suffered the abuse. The second time he was more educated about his rights. "I'd heard the police had powers, they came round and interviewed the person abusing me and it stopped."

80 Being outed at work

"Coming out at work was something I felt I had to do, I'd come out to my parents and it was like a next phase. This is who I am I don't want to go under a false pretence. I did not know who to do, what was the best way, in the end I just dropped a hint to someone. In the end it was in a totally unexpected way, there was a guy at work who was quite bolshie and supposedly straight, a ladies' man and he actually outed me. He found out and when I came in to do a shift I went to the canteen and he shouted 'Oh hiya homosexual', in front of everyone, I just froze. The supervisor told him it was really out of order. I was so angry. I took it up with my manager and nothing was done, she was quite homophobic as well." (1990s)

90 Civil Partnerships

"I feel the Labour Party have done a lot to improve gay people's lives. Civil partnerships are brilliant giving people an equal standing in society for the first time in history."

100 Birmingham Police Forum

"Birmingham Police Forum is a group that is run by LGBT people who work with the police, they look at safety issues in the gay village and other things such as, homophobic crimes in the village and across the city, cottaging and men selling sex. There is a crime report every month. I went to them when I experienced homophobic abuse where I'm living now (Edgbaston) and they were helpful, that's how I became involved with them."

110 London Pride march

Will walked with a Stonewall placard on a London Pride march and found this was brilliant making a statement, this was the best thing he's done in his life. "Gay people have been treated as second class and gone through so much; the struggles of gay people should not be forgotten".