Philip Schofield is gay – he came out today after 27 years of marriage. And I’m furious.
Of course, I’m not angry with the presenter’s sexuality – that just happened to him, in the same way as his silver foxiness did, but I’m hacked off at just about everyone else.
The Philster, he’s top of the list. I understand that last century wasn’t a particularly easy place to be a homosexual, especially one who worked in children’s entertainment. We were all still quaking in the shadow of that AIDs tombstone and a good chunk of the population hadn’t figured out that homosexuals weren’t paedophiles and vice versa. Entire schools packed with teenagers didn’t contain a single one who was out, while ‘confirmed bachelor’ was the kind of label that could end a professional life. And in the face of this, it’s understandable that Philip found a wife and built a cosy family to go with his glittering career. I do understand that.
But, I also understand that he must – at some level – have formed a marriage based on a lie: His deep down ‘OK, I can live with this’ balanced against her ‘I’m yours, body and soul’. Yes, I don’t know anything first hand about their marriage or the depth of their love. What I do know is how it feels to realise that when gave your best self to this individual, they, whatever they told you, accepted your precious gifts because, in part, it protected them from the consequences who they really are. A human shield. Then there’s a horrible, flesh-crawling realisation that every cherished moment together was, in fact, a sham – each memory to be examined for a counterfeit. My rage at Schofe isn’t about what he wants to do in the bedroom, it’s about how choosing not to do it for so long caused ‘heartbreak’ to others.
I’m angry at the homophobes. The ones who made it impossible for people to be themselves half a century ago and the ones that continue to do so now. It is entirely a private matter if two people follow the call of their hearts – and their bodies – to be together in an honest and equal relationship. Good for you, I say. In fact, the energy squandered in hating gay people would be far better repurposed to making an equal world where people just get on with being happy without twisting themselves and those near them out of shape in the struggle to conform. How would it be if the secrets at the centre of our being were safe in the hands of others?
I’m angry that for no good reason we put our heroes on such lofty pedestals that they can’t get down without breaking things. Equally, I’m angry that he’s declared courageous for doing what he should have done decades ago. The word they’re searching for is ‘tardy’ or ‘cowardly’ even.
I’m angry at the idiots convinced he was having an affair, or who speculate about what he does or doesn’t do when the lights go out. In spite of announcements and all the words on this page, it’s none of our business.
I’m angry at the people who say ‘Oh, yes, of course, I knew all the time’. You don’t, and, even if you do, what’s the point of saying so? Exploring the reasons why would be pointless, they’re just idiots too.
Disclaimer: I had a husband who, it turned out, was gay. So, yes, this post is about me too, but that’s the point. If we all release our untold stories, the world might just be a better – more tolerant and understanding – place, with a little less heartbreak.