Wales politics

Hannah Blythyn AM: LGBT role models important for Wales

Hannah Blythyn Image copyright Labour Party
Image caption Hannah Blythyn said coming out was a "process not an event"

One of three gay politicians elected to the Welsh Assembly last year has spoken of the importance of having role models for LGBT people in Wales.

Hannah Blythyn, the Labour AM for Delyn, made her comments as an exhibition celebrating historical LGBT figures opens at the Senedd.

She said while growing up in north Wales 20 years ago, she had had few people she could identify with.

"I'm grateful to those who put their head above the parapet," she added.

Some of the 20 figures selected in the exhibition include politician Leo Abse and former miner and union activist Dai Donovan, who liaised with the gay rights' group who supported miners during the 1984-5 strike and whose story was included in the 2014 film Pride.

Ms Blythyn told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales Programme: "I was shocked about how little I knew about these people and I think it's really important... particularly for LGBT young people growing up in Wales to have these people they can look to.

"For me it was incredibly important to be open about who I was because of the lack of people I had to identify with growing up."

Image caption Plaid Cymru's Adam Price and Welsh Labour AM Jeremy Miles are openly gay

She described her feelings at being called a role model for young people herself at an event shortly after she had been elected.

Somebody said to her: "'There's two teenagers who are gay and they saw what you were on social media and it's made a massive difference to them.'

"That really took my breath away, not because what they were saying about me but because how far things have come since I was that age, that people feel a lot more confident and open about their sexuality," she said.

As well as the exhibition Icons and Allies, the assembly is holding a debate on Wednesday to mark LGBT history month which will look at education and tackling homophobic bullying.

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