Scottish Secretary David Mundell has revealed coming out as gay at the age of 53 was one of the most difficult and best moments of his life.
Mr Mundell, who announced he was gay in a blog post in January, used an address at the PinkNews awards to call for a tougher crackdown on homophobic and transphobic bullying.
“While coming out earlier this year was one of the most difficult things I have done in my life, it’s also proved to be among the best.
“There is no template for it and everybody must do what is right for them and their personal circumstances, but I have no regrets.
“I said at the time that I did it for myself and it really has made a difference to personal happiness by allowing me to be completely the person I am.
“However, I am acutely aware that many people don’t have the support I’ve had, particularly from their families.
“That’s why it’s so important we continue to speak out to end prejudice and campaign until equality for everybody in the LGBT community is without question,” the Scottish Secretary told the PinkNews awards event.
Mr Mundell said society still had to deal with bullying against the LGBT community.
“We can’t be complacent and we must face up to and tackle homophobia wherever it exists, and particularly where it manifests itself as the bullying too many young people have to endure.
“I also want to see work continue to address the issues that face the transgender community across the UK and bring them the equality they deserve,” he said.
In a video message to the awards ceremony, Prime Minister Theresa May praised her predecessor, David Cameron, who was named LGBT Ally of the Year, for pushing through marriage equality.
Mrs May said: “There is still too much hatred. There is still too much discrimination. And tragically, there is still too much violence. And we see its effects right across the world.
“On June 12, 49 innocent people in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub were murdered, and many more were injured.
“It was an utterly evil act of terror and homophobic hatred. But I believe we have the power to conquer this hatred, with the sort of unity and determination we have seen in the past year.
“I think of the outpouring of support in the wake of that attack, with vigils held from Brighton to Birmingham, and I think of all that is being done to crack down on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime here at home.
“Because we will never be a country that works for everyone until this scourge is eradicated.”
Education Secretary Justine Greening, who announced on Twitter she is in a relationship with a woman earlier this year, also spoke at the PinkNews awards.