Scottish Secretary David Mundell – the Tory MP for Tweeddale – became the first openly gay Tory cabinet minister this week.
As he revealed his sexuality in a statement, he said “coming out” was more difficult than standing for election or being interviewed on live television, but said resolving to go public was “one of the most important decisions of my life”.
He said he could not “fully rationalise” why it was such a struggle for him – and many others – but had come to understand “the only way to be truly happy on a personal level is to acknowledge in public as well as in private, who I am”.
“I so admire the many people, young and old, who are doing this every day, uncertain of the reaction. I have been very fortunate and couldn’t have had more love and support from my family and friends,” he wrote on his website.
“However, making this public is something I have had to do myself. I don’t know what the wider reaction will be, but I know it’s the right thing for me to do.
“Other than the intensely personal and positive difference it makes to me, and the way I can live my life, my hope is that my coming out doesn’t change anything else about how I go about my work or how people treat me.
“Gender and sexuality should make no difference whether you are a cabinet minister or in any other walk of life and I hope that I can, in my own way, reinforce that message.”
The leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Ruth Davidson – who is also gay – said her colleague had her “wholehearted support, as well as the support of the wider Scottish Conservative family”.
“I know that David didn’t make today’s statement lightly, but approached it in his typically thoughtful and positive manner,” she wrote on Twitter.
A senior Downing Street source said Prime Minister David Cameron “is very pleased and delighted that [Mr Mundell] is in a position to take this step, and it’s very encouraging to see.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted her support to Mr Mundell, saying: “Good on you, David. Well done and best wishes.”
Colin Macfarlane, director Stonewall Scotland said: “We’re so happy David Mundell feels able to speak openly about his sexual orientation ... role models like David also inspire young lesbian, gay, bi and trans people by letting them know they are not alone and that they too can feel proud of their identity.”