Stephen Fry reveals he met ‘several’ closeted gay Tory MPs in the 80s

Stephen Fry in It's a Sin, opening the door to someone shirtless

Stephen Fry has claimed he met “several gay but not out” Conservative MPs during the 1980s and 1990s.

The actor and broadcaster sat down with Alan Cummings for Student Pride on Saturday (24 April) to discuss It’s a Sin, the landmark drama that enthralled Britain with its sobering portrayal of the AIDS epidemic.

Stephen Fry played Arthur Garrison, an MP desperate to conceal his sexuality from prime minister Margaret Thatcher. At the event he described how some closeted lawmakers built wall after wall to keep their truth a secret at the time.

“He’s a gay but not out Tory MP,” Fry said of Garrison before adding: “I met several gay but not out Tory MPs in the course of 1980s and 1990s.

“It’s a very strange thing to trying to talk to MPs because you’re really talking to two people.

“First of all this façade that represents [constituencies]: ‘My constituencies feel this and my constituencies feel that, they’ve urged me to vote this way, they’ve told me this, most people in Britain feel this and I understand and hear them.’

“And then behind that façade is a usually quite an intelligent person,” Stephen Fry continued, “with a certain amount of skill and aptitude, and they’ll say: ‘I know, but I can’t.’

“You think, now this is a deep flaw in our politics. People are speaking and behaving not as they feel and know, but as they feel they should.”

While discussing the personal journeys queer folk go on to realise their truth, Cummings commented on how as much as gay men are part of the LGBT+ community, many “have never even met a trans person”.

“So it’s kind of weird that we’re so desperate for some sort of recognition that we’ve had to join and scrabble together in this acronym band.

“But it is so important that we do that, and it’s important that we remember the persecution that’s gone before us and will come again, no doubt.

“I still think you should fight for your individuality within that. That is what I have always done. I like ‘queer.’

“I think queer is a really good word, because it’s not just about what you do with your underpants. It is about a sensibility. I always say I am queer.

“I feel technically bisexual – I live with a man, I’m married to a man, and I’ve had sex with many women, and I still feel [bisexual].”