Sunday 18 March 2018

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale comes out in interview: 'I have a female partner'

Kezia Dugdale. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Kezia Dugdale. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Heather Saul

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has thanked well-wishers for their messages of support after announcing she is in a same-sex relationship.

The leader rarely discusses her private life but told the Fabian Review she is in a relationship with a woman, who she did not name.

Ms Dugdale, 34, is the fourth openly lesbian, gay or bisexual Scottish party leader, reportedly making Scotland the only country in the world where the majority of its mainstream party leaders are out as LGB. Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Green party Patrick Harvie and Ukip Scotland leader David Coburn have all come out as LGB.

“I have a female partner,” said Ms Dugdale.  “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. That’s the thing I just have to have that nobody gets to touch, and that gives me the strength to be calm elsewhere.”

Her decision to disclose her relationship "without fanfare or fuss - as it should be" was praised by politicians and the public.

Dugdale was also frank about how climbing the political ladder has inevitably impacted on her social life, admitting that impromptu mid-week drinks with friends have now been replaced by nights in her flat watching box sets.

Of these sacrifices, she said: “They’re hardly huge. I can’t do what other people my age do – such as go to a nice bar midweek and drink a bottle of wine with friends.”

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