#HumansofWMP: Gary Stack BEM, police constable
In #HumansofWMP we take a look ‘behind the badge’ at some of the diverse range of people who work for the force.
We are an organisation of 10,000 people but we know everyone has a story to tell.
Today, as part of LGBT History Month, we speak to PC Gary Stack.
"I first came out when I was 16. And have been ‘coming out’ every time I meet someone new ever since.
"My mum went a bit over the top at first and wanted to go to gay bars and walk in pride parades – things I’m not really comfortable doing myself. She’s calmed down a lot now, but still tells everyone her eldest son is gay, and a copper.
"I realised I was different to others in my class when I was 12. I didn’t know I was gay though, I didn’t even know what that meant. Section 28 was in play when I was at school, which banned public bodies promoting same sex relationships, so I had no positive exposure to what homosexuality was at all.
"As I started to realise I was gay, so did the belief that something awful was wrong with me and that I had no choice but to hide it and pretend to be ‘normal’. I now know that there is no such thing as normal and there is no conscious choice over your sexual orientation or gender identity. Heterosexuality is not ‘normal’, it’s just common.
"What is ‘normal’ in a world of seven billion individuals anyway? I’d say to anyone who is struggling to accept their sexuality to take your time getting to know who you are. Don’t try to fit in to a mould that other people expect you to.
"I deliver training to student officers and staff about gender identity and transgender. We can all make a big difference by just being a little more open minded and a little less judgmental about stuff we don’t understand.
"I’m really proud of my British Empire Medal, which I got in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017 for services to policing and the LGBT community. A lot of people in the organisation were involved in nominating me for it, and that is really humbling.
"I’m so far out of the closet now there is no way I could climb back in it! Being so public and open about who I am isn’t something I’m totally comfortable with, because I’m actually a real introvert. I do it because I feel a sense of responsibility to make life better for other LGBT people in the force, and future generations of LGBT people."