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I was outed in the police


Bernard explained his ‘outing’ in the . “I probably indirectly came out in the early 90s in the job. I was working with the CID at West Bromwich police station. There was some guy aged 21 in hospital having tried to commit suicide, apparently when he was 14 he’d been abused by some man. I got involved, not because I was gay, I was just duty CID, and we ended up arresting a suspect, charging him with two offences, and eventually he went to court and was sent to prison. While this guy was on bail I bumped into him a few times in (gay club) in Wolverhampton. One day I was called in by my Detective Inspector and told that there had been a complaint, a very sensitive one, against me, by this man. ‘He’s claiming that you’re harassing him but it’s very subtle harassment, he says you just keep popping up in these gay bars where he was’. So I said to the Inspector that there had been a misunderstanding and that I just go to these gay pubs and clubs anyway, I didn’t actually say I was gay. Attending gay bars now means that you are not necessarily gay – but back then the impression would have been that you were gay if you attended bars back in the eighties and nineties. The word would have gone round the force that here was this guy who had more or less said he was gay, going to gay bars, so that indirectly was my first outing rather than my coming out. I’d come out to one or two friends, privately, but this was an indirect outing which cascaded around the force, this was in 1992.”

After having been ‘outed’ in the police force, Bernard said “Subsequently I had difficulty working with the Detective Inspector - I was a sergeant then and up to then I had a good relationship with the DI and the detective sergeant, but subsequently there was lots of negativity, lots of fault finding, every mistake you made was blown up out of all proportion, and I always felt at the time there was a bit of . There was difficulty and I didn’t get a good write up at the end of that attachment despite the fact that I worked bloody hard. I can’t disconnect their prejudice, and I was pretty convinced that they weren’t comfortable – there was a drinking culture in the CID, the conversation always got round to queers and poofs, they seemed to be obsessed – there was obviously a dislike or an unnecessary interest in the subject.”

Contributed by: Bernard McEldowney, 49

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