The Tory MP for Bridgend, Wales, has become the first UK MP to openly come out as transgender. Jamie Wallis made the announcement in a statement on Twitter, clarifying that he was ‘still the same person [he] was yesterday' and would continue using he/him/his pronouns.
In the announcement, which included a heartbreaking account of his rape at the hands of an online date and subsequent PTSD, Wallis wrote: ‘I’m trans. Or to be more accurate, I want to be. I’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and I’ve felt this way since I was a very young child. I had no intention of ever sharing this with you. I always imagined I would leave politics well before I ever said this out loud.
‘There was a close call in April 2020 when someone blackmailed me, outed me to my father and sent photographs to other family members. He wanted £50,000 to keep quiet,' he continued. 'The police were so supportive, so understanding and on this occasion the system worked. He pled guilty and was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison.
‘For a while it seemed as though I would be able to get on with things and move on. Being an MP and hiding something like this was always going to be tough, but I arrogantly assumed I was up for it. Well, I’m not.
‘A few months back, in September, I “hooked up” with someone who I met online and when I chose to say “no” on the basis that he wouldn’t wear a condom he chose to rape me,' Wallis said. 'I have not been myself since this incident and I don’t think I will ever recover. It is not something you ever forget, and it is not something you ever move on from. Since then things have really taken a tumble. I am not ok.
"I have never lived my truth and I’m not sure how. Perhaps it starts with telling everyone."
‘When I crashed my car on the 28th November I fled the scene. I did so because I was terrified. I have PTSD and honestly have no idea what I was doing except I was overcome by an overwhelming sense of fear. I am sorry that it appears I “ran away” but this isn’t how it happened in the moment.
‘Tonight, I was reminded of the incredible support those you work with can provide,' Wallis said of his decision to make the statement. 'Also, I was reminded how important it is to be yourself. I have never lived my truth and I’m not sure how. Perhaps it starts with telling everyone,' he said.
After a rush of support and questions from Wallis' constituents, the MP added in a follow up statement: ‘This is all very new to me. It’s taken a long time for me to come to terms with my gender dysphoria. It is a deeply personal matter and I had hoped to continue to keep this private until after I had finished my terms as the Member of Parliament for Bridgend.
‘I am overwhelmed by the kindness and support I have received in the last few hours,' he continued. 'I am proud to be completely open and honest about the struggles I have had, and continue to have, with my identity. However, I remain the same person I was yesterday. For the time being, I will continue to present as I always have and will use he/him/his pronouns.’
Wallis’ brave statement came hours after Boris Johnson reportedly made a joke about trans people at a Tory MP dinner, which Wallis attended. Mocking Keir Starmer’s defence that trans women could have male genitalia, the prime minister allegedly said: 'Good evening ladies and gentlemen, or as Keir Starmer would put it, people who are assigned female or male at birth.'
After Wallis posted his statement at 3am Johnson then supported him on Twitter, writing: ‘Sharing this very intimate story would have taken an immense amount of courage. Thank you Jamie Wallis for your bravery, which will undoubtedly support others. The Conservative Party I lead will always give you, and everyone else, the love and support you need to be yourself.’
Currently, trans people are twice as likely to be victims of crime in England and Wales according to data for the Office Of National Statistics.
By November last year, 375 transgender people – mostly trans women of colour – were murdered worldwide. Horrifyingly, This was a 350 person increase from 2020 and the highest number of trans murders since records began in 2013.