They would cook together, shop together, Tony would take care of the garden while Raymond would do the household chores.
He once joked that I know it’s very stereotypical but that’s how we’ve organized the house all these years.
In 2017, when the law changed, Raymond and Tony married in a simple ceremony attended by very close friends.
As Raymond said, “Love is love”, I just chose to love another man, not a woman.
LGBT+ people may not feel safe enough to “come out” again and again in front of residential care staff for fear of persecution, especially in the isolation of a care home.
Then there is the added factor that they might experience prejudice and abuse from other residents.
Raymond and Tony’s community in the outside world was of their choosing, not in residential care, where people from all walks of life reside with varying levels of tolerance and acceptance.
So the thoughts and fears of people in the LGBT+ community are daunting and sometimes terrifying about the kind of persecution they might face when left alone in a residential care facility.
I remember a special meeting with senior care management about concerns Raymond had raised with me, and this led to an instruction from management to staff that they were to deal with him and his partner , the same way they would for any other resident.
Allow Raymond to be as open about his sexuality as he chooses to be. I spent time reassuring him about who he could trust among the residents and that the staff would treat him with the same respect and dignity as any other resident.
I told him if he had any issues or concerns from staff or residents to talk to me and not keep it to himself.