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Senior police officers just paid lip-service


Bernard talks about the reaction of the force to his coming out on the TV programme . “At the time I was working at Police Station as an officer, and I told them I was taking part in a Crime Stalker programme and told people to watch it that night. Colleague wise, peer wise, there were no issues at all, if anyone had a problem, no one said anything to me.”

“My biggest disappointment was that I had never felt that senior officers were taking much interest in gay issues despite the fact that I was co-opted onto an internal diversity forum. I just felt the force was paying lip-service, I hoped that the programme would be a catalyst for change and I would be involved in other things in the organisation and that this would be the start of a new journey. But subsequently nothing happened, it appears that the attitude from hierarchy was they had addressed the ‘gay thing’ so no there was no need for follow up support. So there was disappointment; I was concerned that no-one thought of health and safety issues; I was a sergeant working in an inner city area in Birmingham and I was walking the streets, days after the programme, and normally you’d think, ‘here’s someone, he’s just come out on television and he’s potentially at risk on the streets. No-one ever discussed with me any concerns I might have about the implications, will I be attacked, will there be abuse? There were no physical attacks but there was abuse, and it was almost like, ‘you’ve made your bed now lie in it.’ So colleagues were OK, senior officers disappointing, and there was a reaction on the streets, the yobs did come up to me, they were yobbish, calling me a queer bastard. My response was ‘I’ll accept the queer but don’t go calling me a bastard!’ Their purpose of using ‘queer’ was that ‘queer’ was more offensive, but I felt if I don’t appear to be offended by the word ‘queer’ then they’ll stop calling me it.”

Contributed by: Bernard McEldowney, 49

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