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Britain’s first openly transgender MP has revealed he is ready to begin the process of transitioning ‘as quickly as possible’ – as he used a TV interview to describe how ‘part of me died’ following his rape ordeal last year.
Jamie Wallis, the Conservative MP for Bridgend, last month became the first MP to come out as trans as he spoke of having been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
The 37-year-old, who still prefers to be known as he/him for the time being, was widely praised by MPs across the House of Commons.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed his ‘immense amount of courage’ and ‘bravery’.
In an interview with Sky News, Mr Wallis acknowledged the ‘incredible amount of support’ he has received.
He also revealed his hopes of beginning the ‘challenging and difficult’ process of transitioning ‘as quickly as possible’.
‘There are lots of hurdles to overcome and it’s not going to be done overnight, it’s going to take many, many years,’ he told the Sophy Ridge on Sunday show.
‘I think now that I am out and people do know, I’m free to start that and actually go on that journey at a pace that I find comfortable.’
Jamie Wallis, the UK’s first openly transgender MP, told Sky News how he had come to the realisation it was ‘pretty foolish to live for other people’
The 37-year-old revealed his hopes of beginning the ‘challenging and difficult’ process of transitioning ‘as quickly as possible’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed the Bridgend MP’s ‘immense amount of courage’ and ‘bravery’
Mr Wallis described how he had come to the realisation it was ‘pretty foolish to live for other people’.
‘No matter what they may say or what might happen and no matter who those people are, you can’t live your life for them,’ he added.
‘About a year ago, maybe about seven or eight months ago actually, I woke up one day and I realised actually I am no longer ashamed of this.’
In his statement last month in which he came out as trans, Mr Wallis – who was elected to Parliament at the 2019 general election – described how he had ‘felt this way since I was a very young child’.
But he added he had ‘always imagined I would leave politics well before I ever said this out loud’.
Mr Wallis also revealed how someone had blackmailed him in April 2020 and outed him to his father and sent photographs to other family members.
The blackmail plot – for which they had demanded £50,000 – ended in a conviction for the culprit, who has since been given a prison sentence.
Mr Wallis told Sky News how the experience had put him ‘in a very dark place’ but he praised the ‘fantastic’ actions of the police.
He described how he was still ‘not okay’ following a rape in September last year, when someone he ‘hooked up’ with after meeting online refused to wear a condom.
‘I met someone that I liked and things started off quite well,’ he told the broadcaster.
‘Then I was not okay with not being what I consider to be responsible and safe practice in the bedroom, so I withdrew consent and then there was… then he just decided that he was going to do it anyway and I was powerless to stop him and in that moment a part of me died and I have been trying to get it back ever since.’
Asked if he had managed to get that part of himself back, he replied: ‘No.’
‘I tried to forget about it for a few weeks and it almost worked, almost worked but then you start getting nightmares, flashbacks, it starts occupying every one of your thoughts and you find yourself just staring off into the distance because you’re thinking about it again and that’s when I chose to get some help.
‘Like I said in my statement, I’m not okay, I’m not the person I was before that happened but I am at least in a place where I can get on with my life whilst I am dealing with it.’
Mr Wallis also urged young people grappling with gender identity issues not to ‘wait as long as I’ve waited’.
He said: ‘I waited and a lot of young people right now I think are dealing with gender issues and my advice to them would be, you’ve got a long life, I wouldn’t wait as long as I’ve waited – I’m 37, maybe you could move a little bit quicker than that.
‘But actually there is nothing wrong with just taking some time and discovering yourself and don’t feel rushed to pick up a label or view it in any way, but when you know who you are, you are ready and you want to tell the world, there are people like myself who are waiting and we’re welcoming, we’re friendly and we’re here to help and support.’