Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon, has revealed she identifies as pansexual, announcing she is in a “really committed, loving, supportive, relationship” with another woman.
Explaining her decision, Moran told PinkNews: “…as an MP I spend a lot of my time defending our community and talking about our community. I want people to know I am part of our community as well.”
Moran had previously only dated men, but during 2019 came to the realisation that she was pansexual, meaning that she is attracted to people irrespective of their sex or gender identity.
Moran’s announcement makes her the first MP to openly identify as pansexual. She has acknowledged that “the reason I’m speaking out is because I want to prove it’s not a detriment. It’s a great thing.”
Though, according to Moran, Parliament is a “weird, backwards place,” she has looked to other female LGBT+ politicians, such as Ruth Davidson and Justine Greening, as role models.
The reaction to her announcement has been broadly positive within the House of Commons, though there has been a lack of understanding of pansexuality on the part of some politicians. Moran said, “When I’ve spoken to people about it, the first thing they ask is, ‘So you’re gay then?’ ‘Well, I don’t know if that’s how I identify…’”
“The way I would have said it to people is, ‘Actually I’m probably bi,’ because that’s a term they understand. But when I’ve looked at the definitions of what I’m comfortable with – pan is more about the person, and less the gender. That, if I was going to force myself to have a label, that would be how I would identify.”
Moran met her girlfriend, Rosy Cobb, through their shared activities within the Liberal Democrats. Cobb was the Party’s Head of Press, before being suspended during the general election campaign for forging an email. Moran decided to make the relationship public following an approach by journalists.
Moran becomes not only the first openly pansexual MP, but the sole openly LGBT+ Liberal Democrat MP in the new parliament.
In December’s election, excluding Moran, 45 openly LGBT+ MPs were elected nationwide, the same result as in 2017. Of these 45, 20 were elected for the Conservatives, 15 for Labour, and 10 for the Scottish National Party.
The SNP has the highest proportion of LGBT+ representation of any party in the new parliament, standing at 21% of all their MPs, next to the Tories’ 5.5% and Labour’s 7.4%.
Moran’s announcement comes after she significantly increased her majority in the election to 8,943, up from 816 in 2017. Speculation is mounting that Moran will launch a bid for leader of the Liberal Democrats, after Jo Swinson, the previous leader, lost her seat last month.