Phillip Schofield came out on live TV following a post on his personal Instagram.
Yes, Phillip ‘This Morning’ Schofield. Phil ’n ‘ Holly. Purveyors of chatty sofa-residing morning telly.
He has just bravely gone through the process – the internal dialogue, the what if? reflectiveness, calibrating the impact for self and those close by – so many have before him and will do in the future and in turn triggered a multiplicity of thought pieces.
His journey and accompanying pain eloquently summarised in his statement: ‘You never know what’s going on in someone’s seemingly perfect life, what issues they are struggling with , or the state of their wellbeing – and so you won’t know what has been consuming me for years. With the strength and support of my wife and daughters. I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay.’
That someone of his profile and visibility has made this decision in the context of a 27-year marriage is huge. Huge on a personal level to make such a statement, of course. But also in terms of the LGBT community in a wider sense for which it just might – however incrementally small – contribute to a greater awareness and acceptance in society at large.
The most considered response so far has come from David Walliams, who tweeted: ‘Let’s hope we are moving towards a world where no-one has to come out anymore, they can just be who they are and celebrate that.’
One person acutely aware of the significance of coming out in a showbiz context is singer Will Young, whose upcoming book is titled ‘To Be A Gay Man’ and documents his experience of what he describes as ‘gay shame’.
He made the decision to publicly come out back in ’02 against a background of an openly hostile record company boss who described his singing voice as ‘too gay’.
The consensus is that things are easier now, but there is still a very long way to go.
The final comment at the end of the statement issued by Phillip Schofield needs to be observed. ‘Please be kind, especially to my family.’
Peace and privacy, we should all wish Phillip Schofield these things at this time.