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Welsh Assembly Members are scared to come out, politician claims

Nick Duffy January 5, 2015
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A member of the Welsh Assembly has claimed that a number of his colleagues remain in the closet over fears of homophobia.

The claims were made by an anonymous AM in a Bangor University study, exploring barriers to participation in Welsh politics.

According to WalesOnline, the politician said: “No members that I am aware of have come out.

“There are a number that I am aware of who consider themselves homosexual, and perhaps might have liked to come out, but didn’t want to because of perhaps fears of changing their image, or the way they will be perceived by their constituents.”

Labour MP and shadow arts minister Chris Bryant is the most prominent gay Welsh politician. He said last year that he has “absolute confidence” in the people of his constituency, the Rhondda.

Andrew White, director of Stonewall Cymru said the quote indicated the “big challenges” faced.

He said: “It raises issues that political parties need to deal with as a matter of urgency with two major elections coming up in the next 18 months.

“I believe all people, AMs included, perform better when they can be themselves, but the decision to come out or not is deeply personal. We would never say that someone should be out or not.

“Our research shows that an openly gay AM would receive public support.

“It’s a depressing picture but our latest research shows huge numbers of LGBT people are unable or unwilling to be out in the workplace.

“It makes the elected chamber no different to any other work place in Wales.”

A Stonewall Cymru survey last year found that more than three quarters of people believe LGB politicians face higher media scrutiny, while all major parties were perceived as being discriminatory.

More: Anti-gay, Bangor, Chris Bryant, Gay, Homophobia, Labour, mp, Wales, Wales, Welsh Assembly

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