Kezia Dugdale: I was outed as gay against my will

Written by Agnes Chambre on 1 September 2017 in News

The former Scottish Labour leader said she was forced to come out as gay after a magazine published details about her sexuality

Kezia Dugdale - Image credit: Jonathan Ellenor

Kezia Dugdale has said she was forced to come out as gay after a magazine published details about her sexuality.

The former Scottish Labour leader, who stood down earlier this week, said she had asked that on-the-record quotes about her sexuality were not included in an article with the Fabian Review – but that her request was denied.

The Fabian Society said it was sorry for any upset caused but defended its handling of the interview.

Dugdale told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show that she regretted not having complete control over the quotes being published in 2016.

She said: “It wasn't the first time I'd been asked [by journalists] about my sexuality.

“I would always answer honestly, and then I would say, 'I'd prefer you didn't use that... I don't think it matters.'

“Up until that day, everybody had respected that, and then that one journalist had decided no, it was a story,” she said.

Dugdale is in a relationship with Jenny Gilruth, the SNP MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes.

She told the magazine in 2016: “I have a female partner. I don't talk about it very much because I don't feel I need to.

“And there's something too about how meteoric my career has been. I am generally calm, almost serene. I don't get easily stressed or battered.'

“But I need a bit of stability to do that, and that means my private life is my private life.”

Dugdale said the night before publication she was forced to “make some phone calls” to ensure people found out about her sexuality from her rather than from the media.

But the Fabian Society said the “wide-ranging and comprehensive on-the-record interview was conducted by an experienced, broadsheet journalist who followed usual journalistic practice”.

Mary Riddell, who wrote the interview, said: “At no point during the interview or afterwards did she ask me not to publish her comments, which were recorded with her agreement.

“Nor has she ever complained to me that her on-the-record comments relating to her relationship had been published.”

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