Tory MP for Bridgend in the UK, Jamie Wallis, has come out as trans and become the first transgender sitting member of parliament in the UK.
The 37-year-old, who has represented the Bridgend constituency since December 2019, shared a message to social media which included a series of traumatic incidents he has experienced, including a blackmail attempt.
In an astonishing statement, Wallis revealed that he had been blackmailed one year after he was elected and that, in an unrelated incident, he was raped in 2021.
Wallis said in a statement: “I’m trans. Or to be more accurate, I want to be”, adding in a follow-up release an intention to continue using he/him pronouns for the time being.
“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.”
Jamie continued: “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.”
Back in April 2020, someone had tried to blackmail Wallis about his trans status, sending picture to his family and demanding £50,000 to keep quiet. After Wallis contacted the police, however, the perpetrator pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison.
Wallis also detailed that he was sexually assaulted in September 2021 after he arranged to meet somebody online for a hook-up.
“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 wrote.
“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.”
Wallis also shared that he was involved in a car crash on 28 November and that he “fled the scene” because he was “terrified”.
“I have PTSD an 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.”
Wallis closed off his statement with: “I have never lived my truth and I’m not sure how. Perhaps it starts with telling everyone”
There is so much to unpack here. While it is great that Wallis has felt confident enough to come out as trans in today’s politically toxic environment, it’s tragic that he has experienced TWO horrendous, and not uncommon for trans people, crimes in the process.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted his support for the MP and praised him for his bravery, however social media users were quick to point out that the PM had made a transgender ‘joke’ during a lavish Conservative bash just hours before Wallis, one of his own backbenchers, came out.
He opened his speech at the Park Plaza the night before with: “Good evening ladies and gentleman, or as Keir Starmer would put it, people who are assigned female or male at birth”.
Just one week earlier, Johnson said that the “facts of biology” are some of the most important things to consider when distinguishing between a woman and a man when he took to the podium in Wednesday’s (23 March) PMQs.
The Prime Minister was responding to a question posed by Angela Richardson MP about the Cass Review, which raised concerns over the lack of data available for young people questioning their gender identity.
He told MPs that “we must recognise when people want to make a transition in their lives that they should be treated with the maximum possible generosity and respect” though explained that, in his opinion, “when it comes to distinguishing between man and woman, the basic facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important”.
His remarks came in response to opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer telling The Times that a “woman is a female adult, and in addition to that trans women are women, and that is not just my view — that is actually the law.”
It's time. https://t.co/cbt0tKQZuN pic.twitter.com/IUaCjm9PtE— Jamie Wallis MP (@JamieWallisMP) March 30, 2022
March 30, 2022