Kezia Dugdale Wins LGBT Award
26 October 2016, 19:04
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has been named member of the year at the Pink News awards.
The MSP revealed earlier this year that she has a female partner and the couple, who have been together since 2008, have since got engaged.
In a speech at the awards ceremony in London, Ms Dugdale said she felt "a little embarrassed about receiving an award for coming out'' because her ability to do so was made "so much easier'' by those who went before her.
She thanked campaigners for fighting for gay rights and warned of the need to guard against complacency and target discrimination.
She said: "It's not enough for me to just be openly gay.
"Standing next to my fiance Louise on polling day and casting our vote together sends a powerful message about the place of LGBT people in Scottish society, but it has to mean more.
"I know I have a duty to use that power and influence to deliver for the LGBT community because as much as I had a hugely positive experience coming out, that's simply not the case for everyone today.
"We like to say Scotland now has the gayest parliament in the world, that Scotland is a wonderful place to be gay. And for many it is, but we must guard against any sense of complacency.
"We know from our experience that it is often when people feel at their most insecure, their most threatened, that hate crime and intolerance comes to the fore. We saw that recently with the doubling in reported hate crimes.
"And when times are tough, it is too often minority groups - of all types - that are first to pay the price.
"So in accepting this award tonight, I'm not taking it for myself. I'm taking it for the generations of LGBT politicians who I hope will come after me, and who every one of us in this room have to inspire to come forward.
"And for all the LGBT people in public office, and public life, today who - for one reason or another - have decided not to come out yet.
"The words of Harvey Milk should ring in our ears: 'Coming out is the most political thing you can do.'''