#HumansofWMP: LGBT month, Tina Faulkner, PCSO
#HumansofWMP takes a look ‘behind the badge’ at 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, PCSO Tina Faulkner tells her story
"I realised I was gay at 12 but back then it wasn’t so easy to be true to yourself. So I pushed my identity to a dark space in my head and I later got married and had two daughters.
"For 20 years, I always felt I was in the wrong place. However, I don’t regret my marriage - we had lots of good times, and I have a beautiful family because of it. But I got to a point where I could no longer lie to myself and everyone around me.
"I came out at 44 and decided to tell my parents. I asked my mum if it was ok, almost like I needed her permission. I told my dad, and he never batted an eyelid. If my father at the age of 80 can accept his daughter as gay, then why can’t others?
"Growing up in today’s society it is generally more accepting and relaxed, although it’s not the case for everyone.
"I now mentor young people who are struggling with their sexuality - I share my own life experiences and the difficulties I have had to overcome.
"My youngest daughter is also gay and I am so happy that she is able to live her life being true to herself from that young age. That I envy.
"If I could go back in time and give myself any advice, I would say don’t wait until you’re in your 40s to be yourself. Be strong, be proud and always be you."