Cosmic Slop #135: On Phillip Schofield (Sort Of)

As Phillip Schofield comes out, Shaun Ponsonby is torn between dislike of him and anger at the casual homophobia thrown his way.

By Shaun Ponsonby
Tue 11 February, 2020

I don’t like Phillip Schofield.

In fact, I am in the middle of writing a non-fiction book about him called Phillip Schofield: The Eyes of a Killer. He just has a look that strikes me as suspicious. I’m not accusing him of killing multiple prostitutes over the course of his career – because, you know, libel laws – but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.

He is beyond beige, and his smiling selfie with Boris Johnson was shameful. There really is nothing worse than a beige Tory. At least the pantomime villain Tories are worthy of my venom.

So when Schofield came out of the closet last week, I was torn between my dislike of him and anger at the casual homophobia being thrown in his direction. Because, really, that wasn’t about Phillip Schofield at all, it was about all of us.

Of course, there were plenty of supportive messages, but the amount of clueless bile I saw posted all over social media made a mockery out of Schofield’s assertion that he is happy to live in a more tolerant society.

There were the obvious jokes; the two most popular appeared to be about him fisting his former puppet sidekick Gordon the Gopher, and a picture of him with chocolate around his mouth, accompanied by the caption “Phillip Schofield eats ass on the first date.”

This really shows the divide between straights and queers. They laugh at these jokes because they have bland sex lives, and we laugh at them because they think doggy style is kinky. Tell me what the fuck is wrong with eating ass on the first date? Why even have an ass if it’s not going to get eaten? Seriously, guys, straight humour doesn’t translate.

Playful banter between friends is one thing. But this is just ignorant morons jumping at the chance to make the same old queer-bashing jokes. You think we haven’t heard these before now? Seeing innumerous variations of the same “Huh huh, fisting is a thing” meme isn’t the harmless bantz you’re assuming it is. It sends out a clear message: we don’t like you.

And to call it out makes you a snowflake in the eyes of these biting satirists. There is a potent irony here.  Minorities have thick skin, babes. We put up with this shit day-in, day-out. The more privileged you are, the more of a snowflake you tend to be. It is especially ironic in Liverpool, where swathes of people have banished Ringo Starr – one quarter of the only reason anyone ever comes here – because over a decade ago he told Jonathan Ross that he would rather live in Monte Carlo than Dingle.

Another popular reaction was regarding his marriage. I wasn’t aware the Schofields had so many close non-famous pleb friends up and down the country, each of whom has intimate knowledge of their marriage, but there you go. “I feel sorry for his wife, he’s made a laughing stock out of her,” screamed a couple of particular besties.

While, yes, a marriage will likely end, and a family may be split, who are you to feel sorry for anybody? He has only made her a laughing stock to people who think homosexuality is fundamentally something to be laughed at, which may explain why you keep posting those dumb memes.

I’m not going to speculate on the reasons for him doing this, or how he discussed this with his family – because I highly doubt he went ahead without doing so – and I would recommend others do the same.

Whether he was sleeping with men behind his wife’s back or not, which in itself is assuming that they didn’t have an open marriage, is really none of our concern. The assumptive comment “He cheats on his wife and he is a hero?” fails to acknowledge the potential magnitude of the struggle behind it, and that perhaps lying to yourself for decades changes this dynamic somewhat.

The final obvious comment is “Who cares?” Well, maybe you don’t. Why would you? You’re not dealing with these issues. On a day where it looked as if our vile Prime Minister was getting ready to sell off the NHS, perhaps it does seem like small potatoes to you, much in the same way I don’t give a fuck about who kicked what ball into which net.

But every time a public figure comes out, it gets that little bit easier for somebody else. Schofield isn’t the only person in this situation; a guy pushing 60, married for years with two kids realising that he is gay and seeing no way out.

There are some people out there watching this unfold who will be energised. Why? Because as every single person who grew up as any lonely queer kid in a tidal wave of homophobic family members and bum boy jokes in the school yard will tell you; representation always helps. It isn’t much of an exaggeration to say that something that seems so insignificant to the “Who cares?” crowd could potentially save a life.

I still don’t like Phillip Schofield, or his supremely terrible show. Plus, a beige gay is even worse than a beige Tory. There are plenty of reasons to rag on him. This isn’t one of them.

Most importantly, for this to happen in the middle of LGBT History Month, and for it to play out the way it has, the one thing it has proven is that LGBTQ+ inclusive education is still desperately needed. So many of ya’ll haven’t got a clue about the queer experience. You don’t know our history, about Section 28 or what really happened during the AIDS epidemic.

It could probably help us both out if you did.