It Gets Better

The Battersea Group was treated to an entertaining and informative talk from Inspector (Response) Jaiye Warwick-Saunders of Barnet Borough, with support from his black Labrador Jake, who made us all laugh at his antics!
The theme of “It Gets Better” was based on Jaiye’s coming out experience within his family, school and college friends, the police force and in policing society, all of which threw up issues of their own. 
Jaiye was confident, based on his experience, that since he openly and in anger declared himself gay to his stepfather at Christmas, there were positives both for him personally and in the attitudes of wider society. This “getting better” was given anecdotal support evidenced from his original negative relationship with his stepfather to eventually one of a positive nature and acceptance by his stepfather of his stepson’s homosexuality.
Indeed he felt well placed to say to the group that it does get better, particularly as he considered he was hit by a “triple whammy” of height (short-arse!), colour and minority sexual orientation, all of which required him to break new ground. In the police force he has become the highest-ranking black and gay policeman in England (but he’s still short!!!).
His comments on the issues of violence and homophobic attitudes towards LGBT people from wider societies were a particularly helpful guidance from “a policemen in the know”, ie having to deal with gay issues on a regular basis. Jaiye recommends that LGBT people should be aware of moderate behaviour in certain social aspects, as they might provoke negative reactions from “straight” people. It was self-evident from Jaiye’s talk that his journey has brought him to a place where he is confident, happy and in a fulfilling relationship. From the darker days of coming out to his stepfather it most certainly has got better!
Joanne Mason


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