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June is Pride Month, and each year people from around the world come together for the month-long celebration dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community.
The month-long celebration was originally formed to remember the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, in New York City on 28 June 1969, which was the international birth of rights for LGBT+ people.
It is also the month where most Pride events take place, with Derbyshire extending this further with events in July, August and September.
As part of Pride Month, we are highlighting the amazing and diverse group of people who make up Derbyshire Constabulary.
Sergeant Steven Swain is one of the dedicated Response officers keeping Amber Valley safe each and every day, having began his career as a volunteer Special Constable.
He has been a full-time officer for six years, but it was during his teen years, just before joining, that Steven’s journey as part of the LGBTQ+ community really began.
“I ‘came out’ as part of the LGBTQIA+ community aged 16, but only really began to blossom and fully accept myself around 18 years of age, having previously been in a sports team where there was some toxic masculinity.
“I then remember watching a theatre show called ‘Kinky Boots’ after attending Student Pride and thinking ‘these are my people’ and ‘this is me’.
Kinky Boots follows the story of Charlie Price, the owner of a failing shoe company, and Lola, a drag queen who is exceptional at her job but struggles to find shoes which are reliable and can stand up to performance.
Together, they work to both save the company and give Lola and her ‘angels’ reliable performance footwear.
It is a story of self-acceptance, discovery and different communities coming together to protect and help each other.
Steve added: “From that moment onwards my journey of LGBTQIA+ discovery began and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier.
“Pride for me is an opportunity for the LBTQIA+ community and allies alike to express themselves and be who they want to be.
“It’s a time to reflect on the past and remember, but also to look to the future and how we can improve. I still get stared at whilst walking down the street holding another man’s hand and my friends and I have experienced abuse for simply existing, and just days ago in Norway there was the tragic killing of a number of LGBTQIA+ people the day before their Pride, so it’s so important to remember that the road to full equality and acceptance is very much ongoing.
“We all as members of the community, or allies alike, have a duty to ensure that the future is more accepting and more inclusive for those that are yet to find themselves and those who feel like they don’t have a voice.”
Derbyshire Constabulary is very proud to not only be a diverse workforce but also be home to a number of support networks which offer to support to officers and staff from all different backgrounds.
“My experience has been mainly positive. I am an active member of the LGBT network and I have attended events up and down the country representing the constabulary. Visibility is huge.
“I try and encourage people to be open and be their authentic selves as this can play a huge part in not only your own but other people’s journeys too.
“Derbyshire is a very inclusive force and we need to continue to work on utilising this to the best of our ability and advertise this fact.
“We need a diverse workforce and it’s hugely important that we have officers who are representative of the areas they work in. It’s super important for communities to see officers who they can relate to in order for them to engage with us as effectively as possible - how can we understand communities and the troubles they face if we aren’t representative of them?”
If you are interested in starting your career with Derbyshire Constabulary, find the latest vacancies here: Careers | Derbyshire Constabulary
Derbyshire Constabulary fully supports the LGBT+ community and will not tolerate any incidents of hate crime and it is important that anyone who is subject to hate based on their sexuality or any other protected characteristics comes forward top report this.
Our officers and staff are trained to deal with hate incidents sensitively and professionally.
By reporting it, you may be able to prevent it from happening again to you or someone else.
You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111 or by visiting https://bit.ly/35y2z3c.
On our website (https://bit.ly/34QcXUx) you can also find details of organisations which can provide further help and support, if you or someone you know has been affected by hate incidents.