SCOTTISH Secretary David Mundell has told of his concerns about homophobia and bullying in schools - while receiving "moving" stories about people's difficulties in coming out as gay.

The Conservative Scots Secretary said he decided to come out in January because he knew it was important for his "own personal happiness" and that he did not do it to become a campaigner.

But Mr Mundell, who became the first openly gay man to serve in a Conservative cabinet said that he is supporting campaigns like Time For Inclusive in Education the Scottish campaign group that aims to address issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) visibility within the Scottish education system.

He also wants to lend his support to end bullying, discrimination and homophobia.

Mr Mundell, who was named best Scot at Westminster for his role steering the Scotland Bill through the Commons and helping to put together its accompanying fiscal framework, said that while his coming out whas a "very positive experience" he had "come to realise that that is not the case for everyone".


Mr Mundell who has three children with his ex-wife Lynda, 50, said acceptance was a particular issue for youngsters in school, where, he said, "there is still a lot of homophobia and there's bullying".

The former solicitor said that was why he is "very keen in sharing my experiences and also to speak out on the issues".

He said: "Lots of people do have a lot of challenges, particularly young people. And whilst we can be very proud of what we have achieved in Scotland and the UK in terms of equality for the LGBT plus community, there is still a great deal more to do," he said.

"What we should have is a society where if people want to come out, people want to be openly gay, then there is no issue with that, and they are just part of the mainstream, there's no segregration or discrimination with that."

The cabinet minister, who is from the small town of Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway, said people he did not know had written to him after he came out with some "very moving stories and not all positive either".

He told Radio Scotland he discovered people who had "really difficult experiences" when they came out and that their families had disowned them. He said he had been "very very moved and humbled" that his story had meant something to other people.

He revealed that the only people he was concerned about upsetting was his own three children, 27-year-old Oliver, who is the Dumfriesshire MSP, Eve, 25, and Lewis, 22, who is believed to be a medical student at the University of Dundee.


But he said they were all supportive.

"If I got an adverse reaction from friends and colleagues then I could have lived with that. But I didn't want to do anything that was prejudicial to my children and I was very very heartened by their support," he said.

"We [do not have] the same degree of privacy or anonymity that other people might have, so anything that I was going to do was always going to be something that could impact on them. And I absolutely didn't want to do anything that would impact on them adversely or cause them any hurt on pain."

He could only think of one negative comment when campaigning on the doorstep and he said that "they were entitled to their opinion but that I fundamentally disagreed with it".

The only Conservative MP in Scotland added:"I don't have any issue in the street in relation to being gay. I think coming out as a Conservative, sometimes, is seen as more challenging in Scotland. But the tide is changing there."

He further recalled: "Other people in my situation, they have to tell their mum and dad, I had to tell the Prime Minister.

"He stopped eating his apple, that was his first reaction, because I asked to meet him privately. Then he said congratulations, and offered anything he could do to support me. David has been a great champion of the LGBT+ community.