In July 2010, I found out that The Sun newspaper had obtained my personal and sensitive information, and was going to publish this in an attempt to discredit me. This was because I had taken the not-easy decision to challenge my employer for behaviour in my job as a police detective I believed to be homophobic and racist.
The News International title which was the weekday sister newspaper of the now defunct News of the World, sided with my employer without the full facts of my discriminatory treatment being known. I’ve commented previously, that it wasn’t so much the lies that were going to be printed about me but the fact that it wasn’t for The Sun to reveal my sexuality publicly to its millions of readers, or indeed make public the fact I was suffering with reactive depression as a result of my experiences of homophobia and racism.
This wasn’t a fair fight, but I knew being LGB (Liverpudlian, Gay & Black) that The Sun was never going to support someone like me and those communities I represent. The fact that it was still going to print the lies despite my pleas of further detriment and my partner Alex and I having to take further decisive action to prevent publication, speaks for itself.
Even though I was unwell, I could not allow anybody to hold me to ransom or think they had some sort of hold over in any way, shape or form and with the help of the LGF I ‘outed’ myself on my terms, taking away any power others thought they had. None of us are perfect, but I had been a loyal and dedicated public servant since 2001.
I’ve learned over the past two-years or so that, when we are forced into a corner we somehow find the strength to fight. I never once thought that in October 2011, I would be involved in a six-week court battle because of discrimination in the workplace and the fact my private data was leaked by my employer to a national newspaper.
As the Public Inquiry into Phone Hacking gets underway, I hope that in the future others will not suffer as I and others have with the intrusion into private lives for the sake of sensationalism. I wrote in the ONW 100th issue that, sometimes we need to stand up for ourselves regardless of the consequences. I have done what I needed to do, and have no regrets whatsoever. I genuinely believe in fairness and equality for all.
My fate under employment law, is now in the hands of others – guilty or not – but regardless I know the truth, and what happened to me. I am currently writing my first memoir ‘Broken’ about how discrimination caused my breakdown, my two-year fight for justice and battle with depression, to help raise awareness and remove stigma. I’m empowering myself.
I’m hoping some good and learning, comes from my experience for others. You can find out more about me at www.kevinmaxwell.co.uk and follow my ‘View from the Bottom’ blog.
Published by Outnorthwest Magazine, The Lesbian & Gay Foundation 21 November 2011.
© Kevin Maxwell Film, Media & Performance 2011