Today is Lesbian Day of Visibility. A day where we celebrate and acknowledge the lives and contributions of members of the lesbian community. This year, we are proud to profile some of our members and share what Lesbian Day of Visibility means to them.
Intelligence Analyst Annabel Warde – City of London Police
I’ve been immersed in the world of policing for a little over two years now, having initially discovered my passion for it whilst studying towards a master’s degree in Criminology.
I currently work as an intelligence analyst for City of London Police within a specialist national-taskforce – the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).
I enjoy policing as it provides me with a unique insight into my community. It also gives me a deep sense of satisfaction, in light of the real-world impact that my work has. The challenges you face are constantly evolving, which provides an opportunity to be creative in your approach and to “think outside the box”.
Historically, the Police, as an institution, has been viewed negatively by the LGBTQ+ community and, more generally, by those who are marginalised or under-represented within society. One of my key motivators for joining was to help change that perception, and to provide representation within the force, both as a female and a lesbian.
I have been open about my sexuality with my friends and colleagues since I was a teenager, but it was only recently, during lockdown, that I opened up to my immediate family.
I grew up in a very small village in the New Forest, which, in comparison to London, wasn’t diverse at all. With very little exposure to others that identified as lesbian, or LGBTQ+, it was really difficult to come to terms with and accept my identity.
Being lesbian was, and still is, hugely stigmatised and often viewed through a narrow lens of homophobic tropes and stereotypes. Therefore, like many others, staying in the closet felt like the only option for acceptance. In more recent years, lesbians have become better represented in many areas of society – politics, pop-culture, social media, film, TV, athletics, arts, and literature. This greater visibility helped me to legitimise my own identity and understand that sexuality is never something to be ashamed of.
Since coming out, I have been incredibly fortunate that my friends and family have been nothing but supportive. I hope that providing visibility within the force, and in my personal life, encourages others – particularly those struggling to come out – to be their true, authentic selves, and normalises identities within the LGBTQ+ spectrum.