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The first openly transgender MP has told young people dealing with gender issues not to “wait as long as I’ve waited”.
Last month, Jamie Wallis revealed he was raped and blackmailed, wants to transition to be a woman, and also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in a highly personal statement.
The Tory MP for Bridgend was praised for his bravery after revealing that he was “not OK”, and for being open about having gender dysphoria.
In a new tell-all interview on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the 37-year-old politician offered advice to young people who were struggling with their gender identity.
He said he “wouldn’t wait as long as I’ve waited”, but there was “nothing wrong with just taking some time and discovering yourself”.
“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” he added.
Mr Wallis, who said he still intends to use he/him pronouns until a later stage in his transition, also opened up about feeling alone as a child, coping with questions about his gender identity.
He said: “I came to the wrong conclusion, at the time I thought it was just me and that maybe there was some horrible mistake or something that had gone very wrong.”
“As I got older and I started to learn a little bit more about this issue and that moment when you realise it isn’t just you, that moment isn’t just a revelation, it is exciting and terrifying at the same time”, he added.
This week has been monumental for me personally.
My inbox has been overwhelmed by supportive messages, especially from my constituents. This support is a reminder of the best part of my job, the people of Bridgend and Porthcawl.
My priority remains serving my constituents. pic.twitter.com/4pMI8PtClS
— Jamie Wallis MP (@JamieWallisMP) April 3, 2022
He explained how he had “tried to become this person that I thought I should have been” but “woke up one day and I realised actually I am no longer ashamed” in 2021.
The MP, who previously disclosed he was raped by a man he “hooked up” with after meeting online, said he “felt very ashamed and empty inside” following the experience and suffered nightmares and flashbacks as a result.
But he told Sky it was “truly frightening” to discover the “shocking” number of people who got in touch with him to talk about their similar experience.
Mr Wallis also touched on being targeted by a blackmailer who threatened to out him to the public unless he paid £50,000, and the “toxic” debate on transgender participation in competitive sport.
The politician came out in a post online shortly after a gathering for Tory MPs at which the Prime Minister reportedly made a joke about trans issues.
However, Mr Johnson later commended Mr Wallis’s statement by saying it “would have taken an immense amount of courage”