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UK lawmaker comes out as transgender

A lawmaker in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party says he plans to change his gender identity to become Britain’s first openly transgender member of parliament.

He says his decision follows a series of harrowing episodes in his personal life.

Jamie Wallis, 37, who represents an area in Wales, said in a statement he was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and has “felt this way” since he was a child.

In a highly personal statement, Wallis detailed a series of traumatic incidents over the past two years including being raped after refusing to have sex with someone he met online, becoming the subject of blackmail attempt over his gender dysphoria, and fleeing the scene after he crashed a car.

“I have never lived my truth and I’m not sure how. Perhaps it starts with telling everyone,” Wallis said. “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.”

Wallis said he was trans, “or to be more accurate, I want to be”.

Wallis’s office did not immediately respond to a request asking which pronouns the lawmaker planned to use.

The statement was met with messages of support from the prime minister, the foreign minister Liz Truss, the Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis, and other members of parliament.

Johnson thanked Wallis, saying “sharing this very intimate story would have taken an immense amount of courage”.

Britain has often debated transgender issues in recent years with some politicians arguing that letting trans people legally change gender without a medical diagnosis would allow predatory men access to women-only spaces such as changing rooms.

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