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Cabinet Minister Announces He Is Gay

"How can it be both so easy and so hard to say a few short words?"

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Cabinet minister David Mundell has announced he is gay.

David Mundell

The secretary of state for Scotland, who is the first openly gay Tory cabinet minister, described his announcement as "one of the most important decisions of my life".

"How can it be both so easy and so hard to say a few short words?" he wrote in a message on his website. "In the end, it took just a couple of taps on a keyboard, yet at some points, in my mind, it was going to be harder than standing for election, speaking in the House of Commons or being cross-examined on television.

"I still cannot fully rationalise such feelings, but I know they are not uncommon, particularly in men of my age."

Scotland's only Conservative MP has a strong record of voting for the extension of LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage. Originally a member of the Scottish parliament, the 53-year-old has represented the Westminster constituency of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale, and Tweeddale since 2005 and has three adult children.

He has served in David Cameron's cabinet as secretary of state for Scotland since the 2015 general election.

"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," he concluded.

A Downing Street spokesperson said David Cameron had been told of Mundell's decision "in recent days".

More No10 spoksmn on Mundell coming out as gay:"The Prime Minister is very pleased + delighted that he's bn in a position to take this step"

Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, who is also gay, praised his decision.

I know that David didn’t make today’s statement lightly, but approached it in his typically thoughtful and positive manner. 1/2

He has my wholehearted support, as well as the support of the wider Scottish Conservative family. 2/2

Read Mundell's statement in full:

New Year, new start! I have already set out my political priorities for the year and now I am setting out my personal one. Having taken one of the most important decisions of my life and resolved to come out publicly as gay in 2016, I just want to get on with it, and now, just like that, I have said it. How can it be both so easy and so hard to say a few short words?

In the end, it took just a couple of taps on a keyboard, yet at some points, in my mind, it was going to be harder than standing for election, speaking in the House of Commons or being cross-examined on television. I still cannot fully rationalise such feelings, but I know they are not uncommon, particularly in men of my age. Of course, everybody who gets to this point, has had their own journey. I have certainly been on mine - conflicting emotions, of doubts and fears, but ultimately positive and uplifting, with an unstoppable direction of travel. Over time, I came to understand that, for me, 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. 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.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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