Conservative MP Jamie Wallis has come out as transgender in a statement on Twitter.
The MP for Bridgend released a statement on Wednesday 30 March in which he revealed that he was transgender in a first for British politics.
He also shared that he had been dealing with trauma after being blackmailed in 2020 and allegedly raped in late 2021.
Mr Wallis, who has stated that he will continue use he/him pronouns for the time being, is now the first openly transgender lawmaker in the UK.
His statement has been met with support from across the political spectrum.
What did Jamie Willis’ statement say?
In a statement posted to social media, Mr Wallis stated that he decided to come out after he had “taken a tumble”, admitted that he was “not ok.”
He said: “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.
Mr Wallis went on to describe traumatic events of the past two years which have lead to his statement.
He said: “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. The police were so supportive, so understanding and on this occasion the system worked. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 2 years and 9 months in prison.”
He also described an event in September 2021, which left him with PTSD.
Mr Wallis said: “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. 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.”
The MP said that his mental health had deteriorated as a result of the incidents, leading to him fleeing from the scene of a car crash in November 2022, adding: “I did so because I was terrified. I have PTSD and I 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.”
Finishing off his initial statement, Mr Wallis said that he chose to come out publicly as transgender in an attempt to “live my truth” and heal from his previous experiences.
What pronouns does Jamie Wallis use?
The MP released a follow-up statement later that same day addressing questions surrounding his coming out.
He said: “I wanted to thank everyone for the huge outpouring of support I have received following my previous statement.
“I am overwhelmed by the kindness and support I have received in the last few hours. 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.”
What is gender dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria is the name given to the unease or discomfort someone feels due to an incompatibility between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity.
The NHS says that gender dysphoria can “be so intense it can lead to depression and anxiety and have a harmful impact on daily life.”
Signs of the condition include low self-esteem, depression or anxiety and neglecting themselves.
What has been the reaction to Jamie Wallis’ coming out?
The Bridgend MP has been supported by fellow Conservative politicians, as well as receiving support from political rivals.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Mr Wallis’ coming out “would have taken an immense amount of courage”, adding that “the Conservative Party I lead will always give you, and everyone else, the love and support you need to be yourself”.
His comments appeared to contrast his jovial jokes on the topic of gender identity, which were made at an event for Conservative MPs only the night prior to the release of Mr Wallis’ statement.
At the dinner, Mr Johnson said: “Good evening ladies and gentleman. Or, as Keir Starmer would put it, people who are assigned female or male at birth.”
Later in the House of Commons during PMQs, the prime minister said: “The whole House will have read the statement from (Jamie Wallis) and I know the House stands with you and we’ll give you the support that you need to live freely as yourself.”
Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden also loaned his support to Mr Wallis.
He said: “Proud of my colleague Jamie Wallis.
“As a Conservative family we stand together, and we will support you.
“I hope that your brave statement will help others.”
Labour MP Wes Streeting added that he was “sending [you] love and solidarity from the other side of the Commons”, while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is said to have contacted M Wallis directly to give him his support.