Chris Bryant: Voters don’t care if you are gay
Labour MP Chris Bryant says he’s “surprised” by claims that a number of gay Welsh Assembly Members are too afraid to come out over fears about what it could mean for their careers.
An anonymous AM told academic researchers exploring barriers to participation in Welsh politics that there were a number of politicians “who consider themselves homosexual and perhaps might have liked to come out”.
The source said the members “didn’t want to because of perhaps fears of changing their image, or the way they will be perceived by their constituents.”
The Labour MP for Rhonda and Shadow Arts Minister, Chris Bryant, is the most prominent gay Welsh politician.
Wales Online reports Mr Bryant expressed surprise over the suggestions.
I’m surprised actually. I’m quite shocked,” he said.
“My perception is that the Assembly has been a rock-solid supporter of LGBT equality. I can’t think of a single Labour member that would raise an eyebrow.”
Mr Bryant said that when he was selected in 2000 some national newspapers “wrote that Labour would lose Rhondda because I was gay”.
He added: “In actual fact it hasn’t made the blindest bit of difference. Voters don’t care.
If anything they prefer people to be honest and open. There’s a great deal of respect for candidates who are open, honest and transparent about the way that they live their lives.”
He concluded: “I would hate for this to lead to a witch-hunt.
“The real sadness is if someone is trying to hide their sexuality. The danger is that they don’t feel they can be in a relationship.”