A junior minister has given a deeply personal interview to a gay publication in which he discusses coming out, his mother’s struggle with alcoholism and his humiliation at the hands of a tabloid newspaper.
Chris Bryant, the Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, was promoted by Gordon Brown last year, his first ministerial job after 11 years as a Labour MP.
In his first interview with the gay press, Mr Byrant told Attitude magazine that he met his boyfriend, Jared, while out campaigning in Soho with then-Mayor of London Ken Livingstone last April.
The couple are planning to move in together.
In 2003 the tabloid press published pictures of Mr Bryant posing in his underwear, which they procured from his Gaydar profile, alongside transcripts of sexually explicit messages he sent to other site users.
In his exclusive interview with Attitude he described the experience as “very, very, very, very unpleasant.”
“I didn’t sleep much for about three months.
“Friends of mine were phoned and abused and had their sexuality revealed to their families.
“My family had journalists turning up on their doorsteps.
“It was very, very, very horrible at the time.
“We had a general election since then and I increased my majority, so my constituents … they certainly know everything there is to know about me.”
Mr Bryant, the MP for The Rhonnda, also spoke about his relationship with his mother, who died fifteen years ago.
“I remember my mother coming to my room on my 13th birthday and telling me she drank too much,” he said.
“There was a long series of sagas between the age of 13 and 1993 (when Bryant turned 31) when mum died.
“She was in psychiatric hospitals. I took her through DT (detox) several times.
“It took her 18 years of drinking a bottle and a half of vodka every day, and with various bouts of rehab.
“She was the life and soul of every party but it was steadily killing her and she smoked 60 a day.”
Mr Bryant, 47, claimed that Prime Minister Gordon Brown is fully supportive of gay rights and described his boss, Commons Leader Harriet Harman, as “an absolute star.”
He also said that “the one thing that winds me up” is gay people who consider the gay ‘agenda’ complete and are considering voting for the Conservative party.
“It’s not that I think they should vote Labour because of all the things Labour has done for gays over the last few years, but more frustration at their complacency.”
The March issue of Attitude is on sale now.