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Conservative MP Crispin Blunt: The moment I came out as gay to my wife was a huge relief

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  1. The 1960s called. They want their glasses back!

    1. The glasses actually look good on him. Different people suit different glasses. He pulls the look off quite well.

  2. I thought he was incredibly brave, after all this time, to be true to himself. Most of us slightly older gays regret that our rights too so long to be recognised, and so long before we could adopt, and still we can’t have our relationships fully recognised with marriage. I hope we all take comfort from knowing it will better for younger people, who won’t have to struggle for acceptance like we had to. But perhaps it also made us stronger as individuals.

    1. Brave? I’m not sure about that. The brave ones are the mincers who decided to be out and not give a damn. Give me alan Turning or Quentin Crisp anyday

      1. Jock S. Trap 15 Feb 2013, 12:32pm

        Actually the Brave one’s are the people who are out there just being themselves and not hiding it… regardless of who they are and how they act in public. By stereotyping you promote those that discriminate, by accepting equality you promote those that don’t!

      2. There are different levels and types of bravery though, aren’t there? The father of someone I know only came out on his deathbed (literally), leaving his wife and two sons to deal with that information without any further explanation – that certainly wasn’t brave.

        BTW I don’t think Turing could have been called a ‘mincer.’

        1. Mincer is not an insult. Anyway I was not refereing to turing as a mincer. quentin crisp is a mincer and my hero

          1. I didn’t think it was – I was just striving for accuracy!

      3. James, all three are brave in different ways. Turing was pivotal in helping all Britons from Nazi occupation and torture, yet he suffered torture himself from those he served and saved, particularly the British Government; Crisp remained defiantly true to himself despite hostility when homosexuality was completely illegal; and Blunt also finally decided to be true to himself, his family and the constituents he serves, despite having a job in which his ‘coming out’ would attract much public attention. None of us would like to be in the situations that they have found themselves in – torture for being gay / being gay at a time when it was completely illegal / pretending to be heterosexual because of the pressures of expectations to be heterosexual and coming out in the public gaze.

      4. I think that a lot of people miss is that in previous decades there were more negative consequences to coming out than now. Sure people did and many of them paid the price for that – the end of their valued career, friendships, family relationships. This must have been all the more harder for those who mixed in socially conservative circles.

        Thankfully there were people who did manage to bite the bullet and come out to pave the way for the rest of us. That said during the 80’s many were no longer able to hide their sexual orientation as they were dying of AIDS.

  3. It’s a moving and brave story – but it doesn’t excuse his dreadful record on speaking and voting against gay rights in parliament – he has an awful lot of making up to do.

    He voted against an equal age of consent – against gay couple adopting – and against gays in the military.
    At least he did the (semi) decent thing by absenting himself from the other votes.
    This is one of his choicer quotes from the age of consent debate.
    “It is also clear that there is a much greater strand of homosexuality than of heterosexuality which depends for its gratification on the exploitation of youth.”

    1. Perhaps he was speaking from personal experience…

    2. People get forced as MPs to vote in all sorts of ways which don’t always represent their true feelings, and people evolve too. A young gay kid in the gang might call another kid “fag” and “homo” to fit in and try not to draw attention to himself. The good thing is that I hope he realises he needs to be a very strong advocate for equal rights now, to make up.

      1. gulliver

        You make me want to vomit. I stood up to the bullies and did not succumb to peer pressure. A guy at my school was being buillied and I stood up for him in front of everyone. I refused to exploit a woman to make my life easier so don’t give me that he’s a hero guff

        1. James it sounds you come from a different generation where there is a social context for being out and proud.

          Turing was no gay rights activist, he was simply unlucky to have been caught out at a time when the penalties were severe. Yes all Britons owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his work to decipher enemy codes and develop technology from which we all today benefit. But he committed suicide. It was not a heroic act of self-sacrifice but the desperation of a broken gay man living in a broken world.

          We should truly celebrate that as a community we found the collective strength to stand up for our own dignity and self respect and supported each other. In the past that involved respecting and supporting each others decisions about the accomodations we each had to make to survive in a deeply hostile world.

          There are still many LGB people living out broken lives. We should be careful not to condemn them.

          1. Just in passing it’s worth noting that there is now some doubt as to whether Turing killed himself or not.

    3. the exploitation of youth

      Did he really say that? Disgraceful.

  4. Mike Homfray 15 Feb 2013, 10:50am

    But that was all part of the need to keep hidden. I think he is more than aware of what he said in the past.

  5. Mike Homfray and vversatile are both right.

    Crispin Blunt’s particular circumstances perhaps do explain his often hostile and damaging voting record but they do not entirely excuse it. He probably, and only he will know, felt fear that to vote otherwise might give the impression that he was suspiciously sympathetic to the cause if LGBT equality. He had however chosen to enter public life and he did have the power to decide how to vote. Things have turned out well and I’m delighted that they have but by his words and deeds he knowingly caused hurt.

    1. Evidence of MPs bullying other MPs in to voting against LGBT rights … and the names might trip off the tongue… Leigh, Bone, Chope, Davies, et al.

  6. No time for this character.

    Those of us who were out and lost everything including our careers, (myself and my partner lost ours), were persecuted by the Tories, spat at by many of them and written off as deviant homosexuals.

    Then as the pathways have been cleared, by us, and the many who died along the way, treated appallingly by a Tory based health service, who essentially blamed gay men for their own demise, Mr Blunt while reading a book on holidays, decides now is the time to venture out.

    Never forget, Mr Blunt that many gay men cleared the landmines so you can enjoy your freedoms.

    You’re far from a hero in my book. Where were you when we had Maggie and her henchmen bully us our of jobs, homes and realationships?

    Sitting under the respectable cloak of married life.

    As far as I’m concerned you’re a tad late..

    1. Wow: that really is powerful and your anger is almost palpable. Remember though that we cleared those landlines for the less-brave in the present as well as the yet-to-be in the future. I hope that Mr Blunt has already reflected on the full impact that he’s had and that he continues to do so.

      1. Michael,

        Blunt served as Justice Minister.

        I don’t know if you’ve had the misfortune to grip the rails in the dock falling foul of some spurious morality charge of the day, I have and the memory and consequences still make me angry today.

        This man was Justice Minister who oversaw and ensured that laws were not only forced, but created to ensure that gay men were treated by society as deviant and outcast.

        I’m sorry, but I’m not ready to forget, just yet.

        If he was simply a man who was closted owing to his own fears, then fine.

        He was Tory Justice Minister.

        I can imagine in a few years from now some Catholic Bishops will start coming out as gay, and they’ll be a similar warm welcome for them from sections of LGBT community as times move on, and people forget.

        I haven’t forgotten, and I ain’t about to forgive.

        1. You’re absolutely right, of course. I haven’t been through what you describe but have supported friends who have. I’d forgotten that he was justice minister. That does rather add an important dimension. Yours in friendship.

  7. Even today there is an incredibly ambivalence about young gay people. Check out my latest blog entry about a programme on BBC children’s TV yesterday –

    http://goo.gl/yAO50

  8. I have to say that I agree with Paul AP above… A tad little… a tad too late…

  9. Of course, his former wife was immensely wealthy, so I suppose there was some consolation all those years.

  10. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Feb 2013, 12:33pm

    What about those male MPs who are alleged to be having secret dalliances with men, that Iain Dale spoke of a few days ago? I wonder how they voted last week?

    Perhaps if Iain happens to drop in some day, he’ll be able to tell us how they voted.

  11. I can understand the irritation, even anger, people feel given his past record.

    Still, better late than never, and good that he talks about it now. His is the sort of voice his fellow-Tories will listen to and, with any luck, glean some understanding from.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Feb 2013, 1:51pm

      True, but I doubt if it will have much effect on the Burrowes ilk.

      1. Yes, but I’m sure there must be some intelligent and rational Tories!

  12. I am absolutely certain that Crispin Blunt speaks absolutely truthfully of the overwhelming relief he experienced when after 30 years he decided to come out to his wife, children, and everyone else.

    To be involved in a lie, an all-consuming act, day in and day out for so many years is carry the most extraordinary burden. When that act, and the burden, are cast aside, the freedom and relief are extraordinary.

    My partner has carried the burden of seriously ill parent for over 30 years. She did some months ago. He has actually had trouble coping with the fact that the daily burden is no longer there. He no longer has to wake up to it, or go to sleep to it.

    There are 1000s and 1000s of homosexual people who have opted to construct for themselves an imitation of heterosexual life. One day, though far in the future, they won’t feel pressured to do this. And perhaps one day soon they will simply decide to stop doing this and experience freedom.

  13. Bill Cameron 15 Feb 2013, 1:26pm

    The man certainly had his problems and caused a lot of hurt, but having been in touch with him (about 10 years ago) I thought his attitudes were already evolving and his remarks to me were unfailingly courteous and polite (as were mine about and to him, incidentally), even if he had not yet evolved anywhere near far enough for my liking. I thought then, and think now, that fundamentally he is one of the good guys, despite having a lamentable early record, which some are unable to forget or forgive and I can understand that attitude too.

    I had no idea in 2003 that he was gay, but when he ‘came out’ in 2010 it suddenly all made sense. I wish him all the best for the future.

    1. That’s really well put. What an interesting thread this is. Almost every imaginable view is being expressed from admiration to anger and, as you say, all have merit. In so many and varied ways we’re all affected by the toxic closet.

  14. I am 10 years older than this man, was married for 25 years, amicably separated and divorced and have adult children and lovely grandchildren who love their grandpa and his partner. I remember very well indeed the toxic environment of the past. So 3 comments :-
    I understand his relief at finally making the choice.
    I feel considerably less charitable about his voting record in public life. I chose to campaign and work for equality, knowing that some people might suspect I was gay,but could not work to actively oppose equality.
    The antipathy shown towards the ‘mincing brigade’ (often shown by fellow gay people) infuriates me. It was them who went ahead and cleared the landmines as someone posting earlier so vividly describes it and they were the ones that were brave, heroic and utterly wonderful.

    1. John F

      Thank you for reminding me why I visit this site.

      There are so many hateful “straight acting” (self-loathing in my book) gay people posting here who despise effeminacy in men. It was the trannies, hookers and drag queens who thought at stonewall not the conservative don’t rock the boat crew.

      1. I remember at school the effeminate boys were always the ones to be bullied first, because they were visible. Some fought back, some were crushed.

        Those of us who could be invisible, were just grateful not to be picked on. We understood we were alone and had no allies, so we did nothing. Shameful you might say. It was all about self-preservation then. Political awareness and understanding the powere of community came later. We no longer have to conform to stereotypes. Some of us still have no choice.

        1. Being invisible is fine it’s the one who will attack you that are dangerous

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