British comedian Sandi Toksvig has opened up about her sexuality and how coming out affected her.
Speaking to MAKERS UK, the lesbian all-round talent and founder of the Women’s Equality party publicly came out in 1994.
At that point, she had three children with her then-partner Peta Stewart, and while the resulting tabloids frenzy meant the family faced some rough times, there was also a silver lining.
‘We had death threats. I had to go in hiding with the children for two weeks,’ Toksvig said.
‘But I also got letters from women saying “I’ve never dared and thanks to you now I’m saying something”.’
There were no out women in public life at the time, Toskvig said, but that didn’t stop her.
People were saying coming out might damage her career, to the point where it was over, but the comedian didn’t want her children to live with a secret and decided to take the risk.
‘I wanted them to be proud,’ she said.
‘I didn’t want them to grow up thinking there was anything at all to be ashamed of having two mums.’
And while she is comfortable in herself today, Toksvig also revealed that initially, things were very different – and the absence of role models didn’t help.
‘I grew up knowing my earliest time that I was Gay and feeling awkward and uncomfortable with that,’ she said.
Growing up in the 60s and 70s, the comedian didn’t have LGBTI role models because ‘nobody talked about it’.
To make up for it, she discovered her funny side and began using it as a weapon to field any questions about her sexuality.
‘It brings out the humour in you because that’s the defence mechanism,’ she said.
‘People don’t ask you about a boyfriend or a partner if you come back with a funny remark.’
Watch the interview below:
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