#HumansofWMP: LGBT History Month - Ben Smith
“I think I was about 13 when I started to think I might have been gay, but I didn’t tell anyone until I was 20. It was then another year until I ‘properly’ came out to my family, although I didn’t do that in a conventional way.
“My dad was making jokes about how long it would take me to bring a girl home and I snapped – blurted it out in front of everyone. My dad dived at me and wrapped his arms around me – I was crying! My brother got angry because he felt bad for making jokes over the years and worried he had offended or upset me. Bit of a drama really but they could not have been more supportive.
“Although I came out at 21, I wasn’t really comfortable with myself for a few years after that. I didn’t publicly tell people - as far as I was concerned, my close family and friends knew and that was all that mattered.
“As time has passed, I have become more comfortable with myself. I talk openly about my sexuality and welcome questions from friends and colleagues who want to understand more about me and the LGBTQ community. I’ve never been made to feel different since joining the force and their stance and support with LGBTQ colleagues is really positive.
“If I could say one thing to the LGBTQ community, it may sometimes seem like a very dark place with no way out, but keep pushing through. Only come out when you feel ready and talk to those people you trust the most – they may surprise you! When you finally find the courage to accept who you are, the people that really care and matter most will accept you regardless and your LGBTQ family will be ready and waiting to accept you with open arms.”