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I’M sure most OHs are too busy and of course too highly educated to waste time watching daytime telly but any that do may well have been surprised by the departure from ITV of Philip Schofield.

    The consummate 61-year-old presenter resigned from ITV on May 26th, after admitting an affair with a junior male colleague whom he had helped into a job on his show, and after lying to his employer in a bid to conceal the relationship.

    The big surprise to me was that Schofield had been in a gay relationship. I always got the impression he was a ladies man.

    Schofield’s story shows that anyone we know could turn out to be gay, and it’s a reminder that we’re all human.

    No-one knows how many of the UK population consider themselves homosexual because many people who are do not like people to know, including researchers. Nevertheless, recent research suggests to me 5% gay, with a further 5% bisexual.

    A demonstration that these days gays still hesitate to come out is that, of the thousands of professional footballers in the top four divisions of English men’s football, the number openly gay is one.

    That’s despite a poll finding that 86% of UK adults think homosexuality should be accepted in society (Pew, 2019).

    Enlightened citizens recognise that people of a queer disposition are not a threat to health or civilisation and should not be treated as such. They are full members of society. I believe some of the greatest Englishmen have been gay.

    So it’s important that LGBT OHs feel at home at our club events. Of course there is no reason why anyone at an OH gathering should reveal their orientation. However, many OHs choose to bring their partner, and I cannot remember ever noticing anyone with a same-sex partner. I hope that no gay OH is discouraged from bringing their partner through fear of feeling unwelcome.

    I look forward to seeing gay couples at Sidmouth, the RAC or any other OH venue. That would make me more proud of the club.


● Next website offering from monthly contributor George Hayter OH: 1st July