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.
Detective Superintendent Sarah Pengelly – Cheshire Constabulary
Hello, I’m Sarah Pengelly, I’m a police officer with Cheshire Constabulary. I’m a Detective Superintendent and I lead our Major Investigation and Coroners Teams. My team investigate homicide and other serious and complex crime, and support the Cheshire Coroner. I also have a command role as our Force ‘Silver or Duty’ Commander.
I have nearly 30 years’ service , I find it hugely challenging and equally rewarding , I believe policing is a vocation, no two days are the same , and every day is still a’ school day ‘ – an opportunity to learn and develop.
I identify as Lesbian, I have known I was lesbian since my mid-teens. I found growing up in a Dorset Village difficult, I was hugely self-conscious of feeling different to my peer group and I never really became confident enough to build relationships until my early twenties. I am blessed to share my life with my wife and our hugely supportive wider family.
I joined the police in 1991, and within a week of joining my team I was ‘outed’ behind my back – I didn’t want to share my personal situation with anyone, so it was a shock, and I felt I had to prove myself as an officer to be ‘accepted’ and looking back it spurred me on to work harder, and I threw myself into work. Looking around me, I felt isolated there were no clear visible role models for me either male or female to identify with. I joined CID, hard as it was, I tried to be as open as I could, and recall vividly taking the bold step of taking my girlfriend to socials. I practically made myself ill worrying about being judged rather than being myself.