Lib Dem MP Layla Moran reflects on being ‘forced’ to come out: ‘It has left some scars’

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran has revealed that feeling “forced” to come out as pansexual in 2020 by the tabloid press has “left some scars”. 

Moran, Britain’s first out pansexual MP, came out in January 2020 after reportedly being approached by the Mail On Sunday about her relationship.

The MP for Oxford West and Abingdon said in an interview with Attitude that before she posted on Twitter (now X) to share that she is in a relationship with a woman, she felt “forced” to come out by the tabloid.

“I was basically forced into [coming out], and I am a little bit upset about that still,” Moran told the outlet. 

“I feel that no one should have to be offered the experience of being outed so publicly and prematurely. It has left some scars, and it makes me quite distrustful of the Westminster bubble. 

“That’s the thing about this place: it can feel like everyone’s looking at you all the time. It’s that constant scrutiny … I do think that there comes a point where I should have been allowed my privacy to work out what was going on.”

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Moran explained that she has a gay brother and sister, so she was always “open” to the idea of not being straight, and later identified with the term pansexual after researching it online. 

“I’d met this wonderful woman,” she said about her fiancée. “She’s clearly my person. I just never thought, when I was growing up, that my person could be a woman.” 

The Lib Dem spokesperson for foreign affairs and international development added: “I was totally open to the idea [of not being straight]; I just didn’t know. This comes along later in life, and I’ve got these questions, and I’m forced to come up with – what is it?

“Because if I’m gay, like my sister and my brother, they’ve known since they were five. That wasn’t me. So, what word is that?”

Moran explained that her coming out journey led constituents and members of the public to share their own stories. 

“What was lovely is after doing it, I did get emails saying, ‘You helped me to be able to explain to my parents about me,’ and I was like, ‘That’s amazing’,” she continued.

“So yes, it was really painful on a personal level, but there were quite a lot of positives that came out of it.”

Liberal Democratic MP Layla Moran .(Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images)

Moran went on condemn the “detrimental effect” that the current wave of anti-trans rhetoric from politicians and media outlets is having on the community. 

“It’s very reminiscent of what used to be used against the lesbian and gay community way back when,” she said. “Particularly, we’re talking about trans women being in some way a predator or in some way dangerous.” 

Moran criticised Labour’s plans to roll-back on self-ID for trans people, with shadow women and equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds claiming in July that “medical diagnosis for gender dysphoria” is an “important” part of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate.  

“It’s really regrettable,” Morgan said. “I was so sad to see that Labour have now rowed back on self-ID. That’s the wrong thing to do.”

She added: “There are members [of the Lib Dem party] who take a different view and call themselves gender critical, but they’ve got themselves elected onto federal councils, boards and working groups, and actually, they are also welcome in the party, but the party’s very clear stance is that we stand with the trans community.”

Moran has previously stated that politicians “have no right to use someone’s identity sexuality and who they are to gain votes”, and that anti-trans culture wars are “disgusting”.

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