Stephen Williams, the former MP for Bristol West, is to contest the West of England Metro Mayor election for the party.
Mr Williams, a former Vice President of LGBT+ Lib Dems, has a long track record of being a campaigner on LGBT+ issues, including leading for the party during the legislative stages of the Same Sex Marriage Bill.
In 2001, he was the party’s first openly gay candidate in a target seat, and became its first out MP in 2005.
In Parliament he launched an enquiry by the Education Select Committee into bullying in schools, leading to the new Education guidelines on homophobic bullying.
Mr Williams, said: “Throughout my political life, I’ve never been afraid to stand up and speak out on behalf of the LGBT+ community, and to fight for equality. In particular, I’ve campaigned against bullying which can leave a lifelong mark on those affected. Whenever I visit a school and see a poster on the wall about how homophobic bullying won’t be tolerated and how to report it, I get a warm glow of pride knowing I helped bring that about.
“Electing an out gay man as Metro Mayor will send a signal to those struggling with their identity that you don’t have to hide who you are. Electing a Liberal Democrat will send a signal to Westminster that the West of England won’t stand by if the Tory Government tries to use Brexit to reduce our hard-won rights, many of which have been secured through European institutions.”
LGBT+ Lib Dem Executive Committee member, Andrew Brown, said: “Stephen is passionate about equality issues and the liberal principles of openness, tolerance and unity are firmly embedded in everything he does. He’s the most experienced candidate in the election, and we look forward to helping him win and deliver those Liberal Democrat values for the people of the West of England.”