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Clare Balding says her grandmother told her she was ‘disgusting’ for being a lesbian

Aaron Day December 1, 2013
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Sports broadcaster Clare Balding has revealed her grandmother told her she was “disgusting” after finding out she was a lesbian.

Ms Balding, 42, spoke about her coming out experience in recent a BBC Radio 4 interview.

The now OBE-award winning gay icon, who placed second on this year’s Pink List, was publicly outed in a newspaper 10 years ago.

She told Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young that although her parents already knew she was gay beforehand, she and her grandmother did not speak for months following the revelation.

“I said ‘Grandma, I need to talk to you’ and she said ‘Yes I should think you do’.

“I said ‘Have you seen the paper?’ and she said ‘Yes and I think it’s disgusting’.

“I said ‘What do you mean? The invasion of my privacy or my lifestyle choice’ and she said ‘Both’ and I didn’t talk to her for about six months after that which was pretty difficult.”

Ms Balding was also asked whether she could work with a “clear conscience” at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, given Russia’s notoriety following anti-gay legislation.

She said: “Absolutely. Because I think it’s hugely important that I do go”.

Ms Balding’s civil partner, former BBC Radio 4 newsreader Alice Arnold also recently said “Britain’s homophobia needs to be tackled before we turn to Russia’s.”

The journalist and writer commented on revelations that scores of schools in England and Wales had polices in place targeting the “promotion” of homosexuality, in language reminiscent of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988.

Speaking on the “terror” of her coming out experience, Ms Balding previously said: “Lots of women don’t realise that they’re gay until they’re grown up. Particularly if they’re all doing the same thing, which is essentially looking for a husband. To go down the motorway and get off at a junction that isn’t marked, or to go against the traffic, is a difficult thing to do and I didn’t have much of a clue.”

Related topics: anti-gay laws, Clare Balding, David Cameron, England, Europe, G20, Moscow, putin, Russia, Russia, sochi olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics 2014, St Petersburg, Stephen Fry, Vladimir Putin, Winter Olympics, Winter Olympics 2014

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