I was born in the early 1950s into a black and white world. The TV was black and
white, most films were black and white, even people seemed grey. And gay and
straight were black and white – straight was good and white and gay was bad and
black. So I grew up trying to be straight and I ended up getting married.
While this was going on the world was changing. In 1969 in New York the Stonewall
riots marked the start of gay activism. In England the laws started changing. People
started marching for gay rights and I was still married.
Now, may years later I’m living an out gay life happily married to another man. I live
and work in the North East in a job where being gay is actually a qualification.
Although there have been Gay Pride events in the past in Newcastle there’d been
nothing since 2005 and there had never been a Pride march. I became involved as
part of the organising committee for Northern Pride which re-launched Gay Pride in
Newcastle in 2008, including the first ever march through the city with over 500
people taking part.
In 2009 I had the huge honour of being asked to lead the parade when over 800
people marched through the city centre streets on a bust Saturday in July. As if
leading the parade was not enough, I was also invited to give the opening speech
giving some of the history of the LBGT movement over the past 40 years.
This was one of the proudest moments in my life. Finally I had gone in the most
public way possible from being a young man ashamed of his sexuality to being a
totally confident and very proud out gay man.