UKIP leader Nigel Farage has revealed he's spoken to retired boxing manager Kellie Maloney about her gender transition, saying her story has "caught the public imagination".
In a new interview with Attitude, Farage says that he met the former UKIP parliamentary candidate and had a "very interesting discussion" about her gender identity. Maloney - who managed heavyweight boxer Lennox Lewis to the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship of the World during his career - publicly came out as transgender in August last year shortly before entering the Celebrity Big Brother House,
where she became the fifth housemate to be evicted.
Maloney - who underwent the final stages of gender confirmation surgery earlier this week - stood for UKIP in the London mayoral election in 2004, coming fourth with just under 7% of the vote. In the 2010 General Election, she also stood for the party in the East London constituency of Barking, where she came fifth with 2.9% of the vote.
After being criticised for making homophobic remarks prior to her transition, Maloney caused more controversy last year after saying she didn't believe that same-sex couples should raise children
Questioned as the whether Maloney will be making a return to the party, as has been rumoured recently, Farage says: "You’ll have to see. I was friendly with Frank for a long time. Since he’s changed to be Kellie, we have met, talked – very interesting conversation. Very interesting. It’s not a subject I know a huge amount about, but it was very interesting talking to Kellie."
Asked if meeting LGBT people can help change peoples' perceptions, he responds: "Oh definitely. There are lots of things in life that we’re curious about, and it’s not until you’ve talked to someone who’s been there that you get an inkling of how you might feel in a similar situation.
"I think the Kellie story is a very interesting story which has caught the public imagination in a very big way. Quite unlike I’ve ever seen before."
In a wide-ranging interview with Attitude ahead of the general election, Mr Farage also discusses accusations of homophobia amongst UKIP members, the party's attitude to same-sex marriage, sex education, and why he believes we shouldn't attempt to "impose our values" on other countries.
We also speak to David Cameron Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon ahead of May's vote in the new issue, which also includes interviews with Adam Lambert, David Beckham and Westlife's Mark Feehily. The May issue is available to download to your mobile, iPad or tablet device now, at Pocketmags.com/Attitude
It will be out in shops on Wednesday (April 1), and you can also have it delivered directly to your door at newsstand.co.uk
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