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Out Education Secretary: I would be a criminal in some countries around the world

Nick Duffy October 27, 2016
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The UK’s Education Secretary Justine Greening has opened up about coming out, earlier this year.

Ms Greening, the Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, revealed in June that she is in a relationship with a woman.

In her speech to the PinkNews Awards, she opened up about her journey.

She said: “One of the reasons I really wanted to come along this evening was just to say a very personal thank you to the LGBT+ community for the huge support that I had earlier in the year, when I did my tweet.

“It was meant to be my big weekend and then Brexit nearly ruined it, I thought it was outrageous! But I had such incredible support, so I did want to say a very personal thank you to everybody for that.

“The reason I mention it is because all of the work that you do, it touches people in very different ways. I think sometimes you may not know that that individual contact that you had with a particular person was the thing that made a difference.

“David Mundell had no idea when he was doing his announcement earlier in the year that it really struck me that maybe it was time I should do one of my own. And so you have impact in a way that you don’t necessarily realise.

“I myself was walking through with some shopping bags in Wandsworth Southside Centre about a month ago, and somebody just ran up to me to say what an impact my tweet and my announcement had on them. And they were a parent, and they were saying, ‘Thank you for making it easier for my son.’

“So it’s a ripple effect, and you’re really at the centre of that ripple effect, which is why I wanted to come here tonight to say thank you.

“The last thing I really wanted to say is that the thing that struck me in my time as Secretary of State at DFID was just this sense of all countries being on a journey.

“Some of them are moving backwards actually, but many countries are moving forward, and we should be really proud of how far our country has moved forward, and the big step that we took on same-sex marriage.

“Because those steps that we take do make a big impact around the world, as well as making a big impact here. And there are so many other countries where making the kind of announcement that I made earlier this year would be simply illegal.

“In 13 countries in this world the punishment is death. And so there is still such a long way to go much more broadly, and you are some of the people who don’t just speak up for LGBT+ rights here in the UK.

“I wanted to say that when you do that, you’re speaking up for millions of people around the world who don’t have that voice, and massively appreciate you using yours.”

She added: “I think these awards really matter, to not only celebrate all of the amazing advocacy that happens, by many of the people and many of the groups represented in this room tonight, but also for the incredible work that gets done on the ground, and particularly of course by the people who were nominated for the Community Award.”

More: Education, Education Secretary, Gay, justine greening, LGBT, PinkNews Awards, Politics

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