National treasure Sandi Toksvig reflects on the reaction of the tabloid press to her coming out


In 1994, Sandi Toksvig became the first lesbian in the UK to come out while in the public eye, after hearing rumours that she was about to be outed by a tabloid. Now a national treasure, the comedian and presenter was once vilified for her sexuality as it was uncommon for women to come out in the public eye during this time. 

In a recent interview with The Guardian from the work shed in her south London garden, the ex-Bake Off host recalled this period of her life, in particular how she was written about in the tabloid press. 

Sandi faced a huge backlash for coming out publicly – having to go into hiding with her family after receiving death threats – and was told she would never work in TV again. By the mid-90s, thanks to the tabloids, she was mostly famous for being gay.

In the interview, Sandi recalls: “I came out, and the tabloid press thought that I was Cruella de Vil; I never got that from the public.

“I’ve always said the British people are nicer, kinder people than the tabloid press would have us believe.

“They’ve stopped putting ‘lesbian Sandi Toksvig’ whenever they mention me,” she added. “I don’t know whether it’s because it’s a given, or they’ve just given up. I’m still a lesbian.”

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