• poses in the Winner's room at the Virgin TV BAFTA Television Awards at The Royal Festival Hall on May 14, 2017 in London, England. (Getty Images Europe)Source: Getty Images Europe
“Why should people have to go through this painful ritual to go home to their parents and tell them they’re having sex?”
Michaela Morgan

10 Jul 2017 - 12:59 PM  UPDATED 10 Jul 2017 - 12:59 PM

Comedian and broadcaster Sue Perkins has opened up on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs about how she first came to realise she was attracted to women.

The former Great British Bake Off host explained that her first long-term relationship was with a boy in high-school.

“When I was 16, I met this boy and I completely fell in love with him and we were together for six and a half years and we really loved each other,” she says.

“And then I suppose I was at college and he was away, he was working, and he said: “I’m not very well, I’m just going through some stuff.

“And the stuff that he was going through was the stuff that I was going through, and we were both gay.”

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Perkins was studying at college when she first realised that she was gay—and was completely floored by the discovery.

“I came to my evolution quite late,” she explains.

“I was doing a theatre education show and I remember saying to my friend, ‘I’m just not eating, I don’t know what’s happening. Then my friend said, ‘You’re in love’.

“I just thought, ‘I just want to throw up’. And I was [in love].

“It was so far from my frame of reference that when it was presented to me as a truth, I had that violent reaction. And then it all made sense.“

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How Perkins came out to her parents

The TV presenter told the story of how she came out to her parents when she was 29—with her mother stealing her thunder during a phone conversation.

Perkins nervously called home to ask if she could come to tea to talk about “stuff” and her mother—who was casually eating toast—replied, “Is this because you’re gay?”

She added that she feels that sexuality is a spectrum and she’s always been “slightly dumbfounded and made furious by the fact that I was forced to make a binary choice because it’s always about the person.”

“Why should people have to go through this painful ritual to go home to their parents and tell them they’re having sex?”

Perkins—who is in a relationship with TV presenter Anna Richardson—says she’s heartened by the enormous strides the LGBT+ community has taken since she came out.

“I laugh and get hugely cheered by the fact my goddaughter is 14 and some of her friends identify as pansexual,” she said. “It’s just like, ‘Good for you’.”

As part of her interview on the iconic music program, Perkins chose tracks by Sylvester, Kate Bush and T.Rex. 

You can listen to the full interview here