An honour well-deserved. Congratulations, Chris, and thanks for all your efforts over the years.
“I’m Chris Smith, I’m a Labour MP, I’m gay…”, the then unfamiliar young man began his speech on the stage at the rally in Rugby in 1984. And we all got to our feet and yelled ecstatically for about two minutes before he could continue.
As a shy gay student, barely out the of closet myself and at my first ever demonstration for lesbian and gay rights (some local politician had made homophobic remarks so we all descended on Rugby to protest), I will never forget how I felt to hear an elected parliamentary representative say that. It was incredible then, exhilarating, in Thatcher’s grim years that – finally – an MP could come out as gay. It was of course also extremely courageous of him. It certainly gave me hope for the future in a very dark period.
Chris Smith thankyou.