Belfast Telegraph

Lord Trimble 'put his head in his hands' when daughter said she was gay

Lord Trimble
Lord Trimble
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

Former First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble was "taken aback" and "put his head in his hands" when his daughter told him she was gay.

Vicky Trimble (35) spoke of the moment she told her father, who once voted against introducing same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, that she was gay.

Speaking on Radio Ulster's Talkback, Vicky said: "Whenever I did tell my parents my dad's reaction was to put his head in his hands. I think he was a bit taken aback but my mum didn't seem surprised. I think maybe she had an inkling."

Vicky married her partner Rosalind Stephens at Achnagairn Castle in the Scottish Highlands. Lord Trimble walked Vicky down the aisle.

Lord Trimble- in the Lords last week- spoke of how he was "forced" to change his position on same-sex marriage when his daughter married Rosalind.

Vicky said that she did not speak about her sexuality with her parents until her mid to late twenties.

"Since then it has kind of been a bit of a non-issue," she said.

"He has changed his view to support myself and Ros. When I first moved to London I lived in my dad's flat, so we were quite close, we would go out for dinner together.

"He has been very supportive of Ros, he has invited us both to official events, the last one in the House of Lords.  He has taken that journey that he has realised I should have the same rights as the rest of his children."

The pair said it was "upsetting" that their marriage is not currently recognised in Northern Ireland. However, that may change with Westminster legislating for same-sex marriage and abortion reform if powersharing is not restored at Stormont.

Asked if it was surprising that her father only changed his mind on same-sex marriage after she informed him she was gay, Vicky said: "I definitely see where people are coming from with this view.

"I think a lot of people who have more traditional conservative viewpoints, that sometimes it does take that personal family journey (to change)."

Rosalind said:  "People are entitled to change their minds and their opinions, lets focus on the good here. This is a good thing. Everyone has their own journey."

The couple, who live in London, said they have experienced homophobia on numerous occasions.

Asked if it was not fair for Westminster to legislation on gay marriage instead of Stormont, Vicky said: "The fact that there has been no devolution and no real government in Northern Ireland for so long now, whether it was going to be the gay marriage issue or something else, there is something that has to be an instigator to get the assembly working again.

"If there is no effective government in Northern Ireland no one else is going to legislate except for Westminster."

Vicky said abortion laws in Northern Ireland are "antiquated".

"That is something else which is [about] womens' rights, a women's body, and my personal view is that it is their decision."

Lord Trimble, speaking in the House of Lords, said introducing same-sex marriage and liberalising abortion in Northern Ireland were "delicate matters."

"I have found myself taking a particular position with regard to same-sex marriage," he told peers, "which was forced upon me when my elder daughter got married to her girlfriend.

"I cannot change that, and I cannot now go around saying that I am opposed to it because I acquiesced to it. There we are."

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