Well well well. A week ago today, Philip Schofield, television presenter to the gentry, came out as gay.
Was I surprised? Not really. Did I care? No, not at all. Classic ‘What he gets up to is only his business, not mine.’
Here’s the thing. Much is being made of how brave he’s been. People have been raving about how brave his wife has been, how supportive his daughters have been. Well, they should be shouldn’t they?
Being gay hasn’t been a crime in the UK for a good long time, so is it being ‘brave’ to admit to living within the law? No, not really. The bravery is largely a construct created by the faux outrage around homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality. Yes, there’s the skinhead fringe, whom I suspect of being closet, but really, how many people actually give a rat’s arse? It’s all a bit ho-hum isn’t it?
Back in the 90s, I knew three blokes, all married, all with children, who ended up with other men. The children were provided for, took it in their stride, ex-wives were a bit dismayed (there’s no coming back from that really is there?), but the Earth did not stop in its orbit. Mainly we went, ‘No real surprise there, eh?’ and got on with life. I’d suggest those three blokes were brave, since bias back then was a lot stronger and more widespread than it is now, and they didn’t have to power of celebrity to fall back on. They simply said, ‘Here people, this is how it is,’ and all their friends said, ‘Oh well. Do you want a beer or have you changed to pink gin?’ You have to keep your mates on their toes, don’t you? One of them came out of the closet so fast he was down the stairs and out of the end of the garden path before you could blink, and we just closed the gate after him.
Is Schofield’s wife being ‘brave’? Hmm, maybe. But they’ve been married 27 years, she I suspect must have known, so the ‘bravery’ is all in the past, isn’t it? She learned to accommodate, which I’ll allow is no mean feat.
I have lots of gay male friends, and some of them are as camp as a row of Gaultier tents, and some you wouldn’t know, or I wouldn’t, because it’s nothing to do with me. I have a pretty surprising number of gay women friends, but who cares? I’ve a good few trans people on the roster too, and most I only found out by accident. I find the trans thing puzzling, but it’s nothing to do with me, is it?