'You are a danger to civilisation': Gay MPs speak out over abuse they faced after coming out

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MPs have spoken out about the abuse they faced after coming out as part of a new documentary revealing the challenges faced by LGBT people in public life.

Labour politician Chris Bryant told the Victoria Derbyshire programme how he was called “more danger to civilisation than climate change”.

Sir Alan Duncan, foreign office minister and the first Tory MP to be openly gay, meanwhile told documentary host SNP MP Hannah Bardell how he lost opportunities after coming out in 2002. 

“I think, in fact I know, I was blackballed from the whip’s office in the John Major Parliament,” Sir Alan said.

“Not by him, but by a couple of fellow whips who just thought, you know, it would be too high risk.”

Sir Alan said he faced hostility when he came out, with one newspaper column headlined: “I’m sorry Mr Duncan. If you’re gay you are not a Tory.”

‘Blackballed’: Foreign Office official Sir Alan Duncan said he missed out on opportunities (AFP/Getty Images)

Former leader of the Scottish Labour party Kezia Dugdale told the programme she was outed in a magazine interview published by the Fabian Review.

She answered questions about her sexuality in the interview but asked for the remarks not to be used in the article, she said.

“It was really difficult. I didn’t have complete control over coming out,” said Ms Dugdale.

“It wasn’t the first time I’d been asked about my sexuality or my relationships. I would always answer honestly and then I would say ‘I’d prefer you didn’t use that. I don’t talk about it, I don’t think it matters.’

“And up until that day, everybody had respected that. And then that one journalist decided, no, it was a story. 

“So I just had to suck it up, make some phone calls, speak to a few people, tidy it up, make the best of it that I could.

“But no, it wasn’t in my control, and I do regret that. I think that was unfair.”

The magazine owner, the Fabian Society, has said it is sorry Ms Dugdale was upset by the interview.

The article’s author said the comments had been recorded with her consent and that “at no point during the interview or afterwards” did Ms Dugdale ask they not be published.


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