Justine Greening: It’s not difficult to come out in the Conservative Party anymore
Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening has spoken out after she revealed she is in a same-sex relationship.
The 47-year-old MP for Putney made the announcement on the day of Pride in London, tweeting: “Today’s a good day to say I’m in a happy same sex relationship, I campaigned for Stronger In but sometimes you’re better off out!”
Labour’s Chris Smith was the first openly gay cabinet minister back in 1997, but Ms Greening is the first out woman serve in the cabinet.
She will be in fine company, as Scottish Secretary David Mundell quietly came out to little fanfare earlier this year.
In an interview with the Evening Standard, Ms Greening revealed that she has been in a relationship with partner Tess for “several” years but had not chosen to make it public until now.
Their relationship had even been kept from her friends, family and political colleagues, until Ms Greening chose to open up.
Ms Greening said she had not been “super-analytical” about her sexuality, but added: “I hadn’t been particularly open with it but I’d never had a problem with it, actually. And I thought it was time to be clear-cut.
“Unfortunately we’re still in a world where people need to do an announcement but I was pleased to do mine. And I think Tess is very pleased that I felt able to be clear about our relationship.”
Asked whether it was difficult to come out within the Conservative Party, she said: “There may have been a time when it was an issue but that’s passed.”
Noting that three-quarters of LGB people are still scared to come out, she said: “I can certainly relate to that. But I just felt I didn’t want to be part of that 75 per cent [any more].
“Hopefully I can encourage the [remaining] 75 per cent to be happy about who they are, and to realise what I’m steadily realising: that people like you for who you are.”
Read the full interview in today’s London Evening Standard.