Adam is a journalist from London who writes about LGBTQ+ experiences and issues.
Phillip Schofield has come out as gay aged 57, proving that it’s never too late to live your best life and be your true self.
Phillip’s due a bus pass in just over two years. He’s approaching the age at which many people retire, but he’s chosen to make a drastic change in his life to improve his happiness - and that is truly inspirational.
With the support of his family, his wife Steph and his two children Molly and Ruby, Phillip said in a statement published on Instagram: “With the strength and support of my wife and daughters, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay.”
Although identifying as gay or queer these days is no big deal for many people, lots of our community - even in the UK - still live in fear of coming out and being their true selves.
Recent stats from the Office for National Statistics published by the Guardian suggest only 2% of people identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual - but these figures don’t match up to the numerous scientific studies which suggest around 10% of us have same-sex attractions at some point in our lives.
So it seems many people are still feeling unable to come out and fully be themselves.
That’s why it’s so important to have role models like Phillip, who not only has come out as gay in later life but has come out as gay with the support of his family, the people he’s spent his entire life with.
That his family are in full support of Phillip’s choice is surely the strongest message of support and solidarity to men and women in their middle ages who fancy taking a leaf out of Phillip’s book.
It’s a message of support to those who fancy experimenting with the same sex, or feel they may have not been true to their sexuality in the first place.
Phillip’s message is that it’s never too late.
But coming out is never going to be easy. As Phillip says: “This is something that has caused many heart-breaking conversations at home… I can’t sleep and there have been some very dark moments.”
Yet he revealed: “Steph has been incredible - I love her so very much. She is the kindest soul I have ever met. My girls have been astonishing in their love, hugs and encouraging words of comfort.”
Remember that we’re all programmed to think the worst will happen when we come out, especially when we’re stressed about it - but often the reality is very different and people are actually incredibly accepting.
In the years to come, things will continue to get easier for people wanting to come out, especially thanks to the exciting and increasing conversations around pansexuality: the belief that we fall in love with people, rather than any particular sex like male or female.
Read more: Phillip Schofield’s statement in full
Conversations like this make us realise how much more fluid sexuality is than is widely believed.
At the moment, most of us identify as either ‘straight’ or ‘gay’ but I believe that most of us are somewhere in between.
Sexuality is fluid and our preferences can change throughout our lifetimes. We may feel straight at 20 but gay at 30 or 40. Or the other way around.
Which is why we must support and celebrate Phillip, not only for being incredibly brave by taking his life and his feelings into his own hands, but for humanising the complications around sexuality.
It’s never too late. If you’re feeling like Phillip, take the jump.
And remember: if your life partner truly loves you they will let you do what you need to do - just as Phillip’s wife Steph has done - whether that’s experiment with the same sex casually or go through a break-up to pursue another relationship entirely.