Phil Adlem was on an ’emotional high’ after he got engaged to his ‘wonderful fiance’, buoyed up by cheering crowds and messages of support last year.
Although he hadn’t expected his proposal to be seen thousands of times, it was, helped by a positive tweet from the Met Police LGBT network and a video shared on national news.
In an opinion piece for the Guardian this week, Phil said he was pleased at first when he read comments from the British public.
‘My smile did not last long as I continued reading. “Both should be hanged till death”, “Absolutely disgusting” and “Don’t blame Isis if they strike them!”,’ he said.
‘There were countless more, some with threats. A further hostile reaction at work from one of my colleagues and another from an old college friend was enough for me to wish I had never done it.’
One year on from his proposal, Phil said he wanted to talk about the backlash he faced to counter the idea that Pride was ‘no longer needed’.
He said it wasn’t his first experience of homophobia, having been severely beaten on his 18th birthday.
It all served to show him how LGBT people are still vulnerable to discrimination and abuse, although he said he did feel ‘lucky’ to live in a country where he can join the police force as an openly gay man when in many countries he wouldn’t be able to.
But he urged people not to take acceptance for granted or to be complacent about Pride, which he called ‘an invaluable source of positivity and strength for anyone who has experienced abuse or bullying.’