Award winning TV presenter Philip Schofied has received widespread support after coming out as gay.
Announcing his story via Instagram this week, alongside his fans, Ant and Dec, Dermot O'Leary, James Cordon, David Walliams and Piers Morgan have all tweeted their support.
The father of two and husband of 27 years has understandably had mixed emotions, stating that "...being gay is a reason to celebrate and be proud." However that he is also "feeling pain and confusion, but that comes only from the hurt that I am causing to my family."
Being 57, some may ask why it has taken the This Morning host so long to come out. It must be remembered however that the period he grew up in had a vastly different backdrop with regards to sexuality.
As a teenager, homosexuality would have only recently have been decriminalised in the UK (1967), and acceptance was a shadow of where things are at today. Homosexuality was also still a crime for the duration of his move to New Zealand when he started his presenting career in earnest at the age of 19.
This is just a small and basic snapshot, but can clearly indicate some influences that could encourage someone to shun any feelings of homosexuality and seek to conform.
Add a steadily rising career and his marriage to Stephanie Lowe in 1993, onto instances like Ellen DeGeneres' shunning by the media after being outed in 1997. You can see that for a man now in the mainstream could feel forced to keep their feelings to themselves.
To many this news comes as a major shock. Philip was an image of ideal; charismatic, happy, with a seemingly perfect nuclear family. His story is a perfect example of appearances not always being what they seem. It can be easy to forget the long standing impact circumstances of the 60s/70s/80s/90s has sometimes had on older generations. That whilst things may appear rosy on the surface, everyone has their own personal turmoil. In his Instagram Stories Philip confesses:
"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 the last few years"
Fortunately, the Western climate is increasingly promoting self understanding. Whilst we must remember that numerous countries/cultures are still forcing people to reject their feelings, news stories like this should reduce over time with the movement of self care and LGBTQ+ acceptance that is slowly rising.
So the main thing is to not make assumptions about what's going on behind closed doors. We are in an age increasingly devoted to appearances and can too easily judge books by their covers and ignore the stories that matter. This isn't to say to force deep conversations with everyone you meet, but more to be there for those close to you and to help those around you. You don't always know who is going to be the one who needs help the most.
Finally, congratulations Philip to taking a major step for yourself, we wish you well for you and your family's future.
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