A Different Time for Philip Schofield

I saw the news about Philip Schofield revealing he is gay today and it didn't prompt any response in me other than some sympathy for him and his family on what I am sure has been a really difficult step to take.

Rainbow Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

My children, who are growing up in a time and environment where they know it is absolutely fine for them to be whoever they are and love whoever they want to, didn't react to the news (if you can call it that) at all. They probably wonder what all the fuss is about. We have a veritable rainbow of LGBQT+ flags on display in our house as different members of our family explore their sexuality and that's fine with us.

But I grew up in an age when people who "came out" were as exotic as unicorns. An age when Elton John, Freddie Mercury and George Michael played straight and Philip was well and truly in the closet with his sidekick, Gordon the Gopher.

One of my first boyfriends, like Philip, got married and had children then finally admitted the inevitable and revealed he was gay. No-one was surprised. And even just twenty years ago another friend from work seemed terrified that his parents might stumble upon his secret life. I'm happy to say I'll be attending his wedding to his same sex partner soon.

It was a different time. There were grandparents who were shocked by their grandchildren "living in sin" with members of the opposite sex never mind the same gender. I was asked to be respectful to my great grandad and refer to my live in partner at the time as my "friend." I'm not sure Grandad ever realised I lived with him.

I recall a dinner party around 20 years ago when I had invited two couples, one married heterosexual couple and a gay couple. It didn't occur to me to warn the straight couple I had invited a same sex couple. I certainly did not expect my friend's husband to refuse to sit next to either of them and in fact he sat as far away from the actual table as the couple and said not a word. Awkward does not cover it. I was furious and embarrassed. The me today would have kicked him out but I was younger and less courageous then.

I know that even in this shiny new century there are still homophobes around which is why I am certain that Philip will face tough times even with lots of support from his family, friends and fellow celebs.

People are still being taunted and attacked in this country, even in London where you'd think tolerance would be greater. Whether it is food  or punches thrown it's a sad state of affairs. But still an improvement on last century when being gay was an actual crime.

Well done Philip on being brave. Well done to his wife and family who sound like they are there for him. Let's hope he can now go forward with his life without judgement.


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