Portsmouth figures praise 'positive' decision of TV presenter Phillip Schofield to come out as gay

PUBLIC figures and campaigners for LGBT rights have been reacting to news of Phillip Schofield coming out as gay.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 1:38 pm
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 2:01 pm

The 57-year-old made the announcement via a statement on his Instagram account before giving a heart-felt interview during today’s edition of This Morning.

Phillip, who has been married for 27 years, stated: ‘Today, quite rightly, being gay is a reason to celebrate and be proud. Yes, I am feeling pain and confusion, but that comes only from the hurt that I am causing to my family.’

Speaking to his co-host, Holly Willoughby, an emotional Phillip added: ‘You know this has been bothering me for a very long time. Everybody does this at their own speed when the time is right.

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Phillip Schofield with wife Stephanie. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

‘Coming out is my decision. It was something I knew that I had to do. I don't know what the world will be like now. I don't know how this will be taken or what people will think.’

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Portsmouth Pride head of marketing, Matt Hill, himself a gay man, has praised the much-loved presenter for coming out.

Matt said: ‘I think it’s a very positive thing for such a well-known personality to do. He must have felt he needed to be true to himself in wanting to live life as a gay man.’

The people of Portsmouth enjoying last year's Pride event. Portsmouth Pride head of marketing, Matt Hill, 23, has praised TV presenter Phillip Schofield for coming out as gay. Picture: Colin Farmery

Matt hopes Phillip’s actions will help to inspire people who may be in a similar situation to have the confidence to come out.

‘At the time Phillip was growing up it wasn’t as easy to be gay as it is today. I know a lot of people who struggle to come out – particularly if they are married. Hopefully this can give people in a similar situation to Phillip the confidence to do so.’

It’s a sentiment shared by Portsmouth councillor and transgender rights campaigner, Claire Udy.

Cllr Udy, who refers to herself as queer, said: ‘Phillip Schofield is one of the most famous people in the country and on the whole I think this is a massively positive thing for someone with such a platform to make this announcement as it will help to benefit others.

Portsmouth councillor Claire Udy Picture Ian Hargreaves

‘A lot of people find it harder to come out in later life and hopefully this will help to make more people comfortable in doing so. Hopefully he feels liberated by this decision.’

For council leader, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the fact the revelation was deemed as newsworthy illustrated there’s still progress to be made to achieve true equality.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I think it’s a very personal thing for anyone to do. I look forward to the day when someone coming out is not viewed as an issue or a story.’