Ali Camps, Co-chair
When did you come out?
I came out 13 years ago, at 37.
How did you come out?
It happened traumatically. I have always known I am a lesbian, but I invested a lot of time and energy in denying it - to myself and to everyone else. But as I got older, it got harder to hide, and in the end, I met someone who I wanted to be with more than I wanted to carry on hiding the truth. It wasn't an easy thing to do, and people were damaged. But it was the best thing to do.
Why did you come out?
Eventually, I came out because I couldn't stand to be in any more. I wanted to be myself.
Why do you volunteer with Pride in London?
I began volunteering with Pride in London because I had a broken heart and a good friend of mine decided I needed something to do. She was right. Now I volunteer because I believe in what we are doing, I want to be a part of the fight for equality and I believe I have a contribution to make. I also volunteer because I adore the people that I work with.
Why do you think being out is important for the community?
I have learned the importance of having/ being a role model - I didn't have any LGBT+ role models in my life growing up, or even into my 20s and 30s, and I think that contributed to my decision to stay in the closet. As a woman, I think it's doubly important - women face discrimination and inequality in so many walks in life, so I'm glad for any difference (however small) that I can make by doing what I do.
How has your life/ how have you changed since coming out?
After the dust settled, some of life went back to being pretty much the same. It wasn't easy for my family to come to terms with it, but they did. And I am thankful for old friends who stood with me, and just decided they were coming on the journey with me. I have always been an activist, now I am an LGBT+ activist. I still work in the same place, and am proudly out to colleagues and clients. In other respects, everything has changed, because I am now true to who I am. I also met Abby through my involvement in Pride in London, so this story has a very happy ending/ beginning!