The Liberal Democrat MP and spokesperson for Education, Layla Moran, has announced that she is in a relationship with a woman and identifies as pansexual after elements of the media discovered details of her personal life.
Writing in the Independent, Ms Moran has described how several reporters have been asking questions, door-knocking neighbours and even offering payment to a former partner seeking information about her personal life over the last few months. Ms Moran writes that the Mail on Sunday threatened to publish details relating to her sexuality last Saturday, and that she herself only decided to reveal her sexuality publicly last week because she feared the newspaper would go on to publish such details in the following issue.
In making the announcement herself, Ms Moran prevented the Mail on Sunday from being the first to do so. The newspaper has subsequently published an article attacking Ms Moran over her announcement based on a handful of abusive tweets on a social media platform.
Layla Moran MP said,
“I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I have received since sharing the news of my relationship last week.
“In particular, a number of journalists have expressed their congratulations and frustration over how such methods tarnish their profession. They put the conduct of the Mail on Sunday to shame.
I hope one day soon we will live in a society where a person’s sexuality isn’t newsworthy. But it would seem we still have some way to go.”
Commenting, Hacked Off Policy Director Nathan Sparkes said,
“Newspapers have no business revealing an individual’s sexuality against their will, far less a politician who has devoted much of her career to date to furthering the cause of LGBT+ rights and equality.
“Elements of the press’ obsession with uncovering peoples’ private sexuality is intrusive, degrading, and rooted in bigotry and prejudice.
“The reports of journalists approaching friends and neighbours, offering someone money for new information, and seeking to coerce a person into publicly revealing these deeply personal matters against their will, follows a familiar pattern bearing similarities to the treatment of rugby player Gareth Thomas, who chose to announce his HIV status after a newspaper threatened to publish it.
“While Ms Moran and Mr Thomas bravely called out this appalling conduct, it is impossible to know how many people have been silently coerced into revealing personal details about themselves in newspapers in this way. Nobody is holding their breath for the industry’s pet complaints-handler IPSO to lift a finger over these allegations.
“The decision of the Mail on Sunday, deprived of their exclusive by Ms Moran’s decision to announce her relationship herself, to publish an article attacking Ms Moran based on a handful of abusive tweets on a social media site speaks to the vindictiveness and cruelty of parts of our unregulated press.”
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