So, the best kept secret in Scottish politics is out: Kezia Dugdale – gasp! – wouldn’t rule out voting for independence. The second best kept secret is that she has a female partner, and this was also discussed publicly for the first time during an interview the Scottish Labour leader gave to a left wing think tank a few days ago.

In some ways, the nature of this “coming out” says much about the nature of modern Scottish society. It wasn’t really a “secret” at all. Many people at Holyrood and in the Scottish media have known about this part of Ms Dugdale’s personal life for some time. It just wasn’t really a thing. Interestingly, not even the tabloids felt it was worth “exposing”. Even 10 years ago it undoubtedly would have been. We can all recall the sort of article that would have appeared: Ms Dugdale forced to “tell the truth” to a tacky Sunday newspaper before they "sensationally" revealed it to the world in a double page spread, complete with childhood acquaintances explaining how she’d had short hair at school and once owned a pair of Doc Martins.

The fact this didn’t happen is a monumentally good thing for Ms Dugdale and her family and friends, and for wider society. It also means two thirds – four out of six – of the leaders of Scotland’s political parties are openly gay, the others being Ruth Davidson of the Conservatives, the Greens’ Patrick Harvie and David Coburn of Ukip. That’s more than in any other country on earth and we should rightly be proud, or at least glad. (And I’ve not even mentioned that the three main parties are led by women.)

Considering that Scotland only formally legalised being gay in 1980, this highlights – or at least hints at - pretty extraordinary progress towards equality and tolerance in a nation that only a couple of generations ago jailed men for showing love to other men. Women weren’t really expected to have strong sexual feelings at all, of course, so being a lesbian wasn’t even worth outlawing.

Only a few weeks ago, before Ms Dugdale’s interview, I marvelled at this progress when a neighbour, recently returned from a holiday in Russia, told me how he’d enjoyed his trip very much, but found the blatant homophobia, even in big cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg, shocking and off-putting. As grim as it was to hear about the situation in Russia, the fact it was being recounted by an outraged elderly heterosexual former railwayman was heartening. Grandads certainly didn’t talk like this when I was a wee girl.

And it’s not just gay people who are seeing the benefit of the 21st century’s increasing push towards politicising identity. Only last week the SNP outlined plans to legally recognise people who don’t consider themselves to be either male or female. The plan would also allow transgender people to change their gender on their birth certificates without the permission of a panel of lawyers and doctors - in other words, their gender would become their own business. Let’s be honest, this law change probably won't affect a huge number of people; what matters is the fact it is seen as worthy of attention by mainstream politicians.

Not that we should become complacent, of course. Attitudes may have changed to some extent, but sexuality is still being used as a stick to beat people with. Only recently a friend told me how her teenage son was being mercilessly bullied at school for being gay, despite the fact the boy hasn't actually confirmed this. So for some, what it means to be gay hasn’t changed all that much - it is still to be mocked and/or ashamed of, to be used against someone, like being fat or having BO. Which is why the onus is on all of us who support equality to do what we can to help young people see that being gay is perfectly normal. This is especially important in the digital age, of course, when bullying thrives on social media away from parental eyes rather than stopping at the school gates.

Even in my own lifetime it’s become clear that the traditional “norms”, the societal expectations that all genders, sexualities and classes had to slavishly conform to are gradually losing their grip. Most of us would probably give a hurrah to that. Though modern society is often criticised for its rampant individuality, for its focus on “me” rather than “us”, I’d argue that the importance of individual freedom, the focus on the personal as the political, has brought societal progression and reform we all ultimately benefit from.

Now it’s surely up to the beneficiaries of this – not least our party leaders – to allow the wheels of progress to keep turning.