A TRANSGENDER police officer from Flintshire has told how he joined the force to “stand up for those that were prejudiced and discriminated against”.

Since becoming an officer, Mold-based PCSO Connor Freel has worked with countless young people in the community struggling with their sexuality and gender identity.

“I’ve lost count now of the times where I’ve spoken to people who’ve been struggling,” he said.

“I’ve often gone out to incidents where young people have been getting in trouble for certain things.

“By just taking the time to sit down with them and ask what’s going on, it turns out some of them are just struggling with their sexuality or gender identity - which is reflected in their behaviour.

“Once I’ve addressed their concerns, often, they feel more comfortable within themselves and begin to engage and support the police.

“In most cases, there has been a build-up of anxiety, anger, and frustration. It’s a great feeling when you’re able to help – you join the job to do that. I’ll always offer my contact details to them, and if I can help, I will.”

The Leader previously reported PCSO Freel’s emotional account of growing up in North Wales as transgender - and the abuse he suffered along the way.

Following his successful police work, Connor has since become North Wales Police’s LGBTQ+ staff support liaison officer - promoting developing and sustaining the LGBT+ staff support network.

He added: “We need to be challenging people’s perspective of ‘normal’. When I can stop talking about this is when I know we’ve won.”

North Wales Police are sharing stories like this as part of the national Pride Cymru movement, which runs from August 23 to 29.

The campaign aims to promote and raise awareness of the issues affecting the LGBT+ community – such as hate crime, discrimination and prejudices.