• My personal Pride history

My personal Pride history

"Despite all that I have been through on my journey, LGBT Pride is a reminder of what has been done, and I will keep pushing towards full equality."

Anne Phillips

anne for website

As part of LGBT History Month, our Community Investment Officer Anne Phillips shares her own personal history and experiences.

When I think about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride, I am taken back to how my own journey began.

My background is that I was brought up on a council estate in the 1970s and ‘80s with strong working-class values. These values were often prejudicial to others in our society; the words lesbian, gay and queer were used to verbally abuse people who were a bit different from the norm.

I was a stereotypical tomboy and that term to describe me was to the most part accepted by my peers. The difficulty came when as a teenager and young adult being a tomboy was not what was expected. To conform was to comply with the way my family and society expected me to be, so I did! I got married and had two beautiful boys, but inside something wasn’t right. I sought counselling, and through a lot of pain and soul-searching I realised that in fact I was a lesbian and denying my sexuality was making me unhappy.

Coming out wasn’t easy - painful would be an understatement. Some family members disowned me, and others told me that they already knew! In the pre-internet days it took me a while to make connections to other people with a similar lifestyle, but eventually I did. I was in a minority of lesbians who had children, but eventually managed to find my place within the LGBT community.

Around this time Section 28 reared its ugly head – a Local Government Act that banned local authorities from ‘promoting homosexuality’ or ‘pretended family relationships’, and prohibited councils from funding educational materials and projects perceived to 'promote homosexuality'. I was out and proud and this had to be stopped, so I got very involved in the movement to stop this abhorrent legislation. Meanwhile, back at home I was fighting through family courts to show why I could be a fit mother as well as being a lesbian (thanks to my ex-husband). I finally succeeding in keeping my boys in my care. In the years that followed I became a member of the Lesbian and Gay helpline and a founder member of the Lesbian and Gay Parents Group, where we supported other parents.

I have been with my partner for 18 years, and my family has returned and accepted me for who I am. I have four grandchildren, and my youngest son is gay too. Life is good.

Despite all that I have been through on my journey, LGBT Pride is a reminder of what has been done, and I will keep pushing towards full equality. This is vital to me because, in some other countries, members of the LGBT community are fighting for their lives.

There is a lyric from the song “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman which I live by, which says: “I'm not scared to be seen. I make no apologies. This is me.”

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