Watch Luke Pollard's interview with ITV West Country's Kylie Pentelow
A West Country MP has spoken out after receiving a torrent of homophobic abuse when he posted a picture of him and his boyfriend on Twitter.
Luke Pollard says he had "no idea" such a simple Valentine's Day post of the couple together would "unleash such a torrent of trolls and abuse".
Now he's thanked people for their support, saying he wants to break down barriers to make people realise "love is love".
The Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport wrote ‘Happy Valentine’s Day to my lovely boyfriend!’ to accompany a picture of them together on Twitter.
He said: "As far as I was concerned, I was posting a picture of me and my boyfriend in the same way that loads of people on my social news feeds were posting pictures of them in their relationships.
"A simple expression of something that I thought should have been just a nice post that a few people would like and people would scroll on by. I had no idea it would unleash such a torrent of trolls and abuse."
Mr Pollard told ITV News West Country: "I do think as an openly gay politician in the public eye, there will always be a small number of people who target people like me with hate but to a certain extent it’s part of my job as a member of parliament.
"I don’t expect it for my boyfriend, someone who’s not involved in politics, and the focus on his ethnicity because he comes from Chinese heritage, his age, and the fact that we’re in a gay relationship and all those things on Valentine’s Day is not the message you want to give out.
They’re trying to create division, they’re trying to create hurt in you.
"When you’re seeing people attack your boyfriend, attack someone that you’re in a relationship with that’s not in the public eye to the same extent you are, it does feel annoying but that’s what they’re after."
The Labour politician thanked the public for their support whilst championing a more open-minded future.
He said: "When you see stuff that’s not right, you’ve got to stand up and take a stand against it.
"Sadly the story for many LGBT relationships is a different one with a different set of rules to straight relationships.
"Until we break down those barriers and say love is love, it doesn’t matter who you fall in love with, what background they are, what gender or sexuality, as long as you are happy as two consenting adults coming together, that’s a good thing, then we’re still going to have to fight the trolls to make the case that we’ve got to stand up to hate and abuse wherever we see it.
I hope that those trolls who posted such awful homophobic and racist abuse will one day have someone in their lives that makes them as happy as I am at the moment because that would take away their need to be so angry online.