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So, in hindsight, if you didn’t want to give away your sexuality in Merseyside in the 1970’s, would you choose to like Abba and disco when all your mates were either into heavy metal or punk rock? Well, I did, and at least I can look back and say my music choices stood the test of time. I did my best to conform and hide who I truly was, but obviously left some clues.

It took me until my early 30’s to come out to friends and family and then a process of another decade to come out, in stages, at work. I was something of a late developer in today’s terms, but at the same time, many of my generation got trapped in the closet, never to come out. My journey is my journey, and I am sure that every gay person has a different story to tell.

Being out and gay where and when I grew up wouldn’t have been impossible, but it would have taken a bravery that I don’t possess. Society in my youth was overwhelmingly homophobic. Whether it be comments from schoolmates, parents, teachers, politicians, etc, it was relentlessly negative and often vile. Trying to conform was the approach you took as a matter of self-preservation.

Going to university in Edinburgh in 1982 was a great, life changing experience in many ways, but Scotland, which had only decriminalised being gay the year before, felt no more liberal or accepting than the north of England at that time. Starting work in London in banking as a graduate trainee four years later added more challenge, as the industry wasn’t the pride-loving one we know now. There was one openly gay guy at work, and everyone knew and commented - not in a positive way!

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