John Bishop tells parents to love gay children ‘for who they are’
Bishop, who has three sons, said that having a gay son “is just like having a son.”
“I wanted to reach out because I’ve learned more since I’ve talked more openly with my son,” he said.
“To the kids who are 10 and 11 in the playground and are standing on their own, who don’t know where they belong or what group that they belong to, and try to play up to something or feel isolated. It’s their parents who think ‘oh no my son doesn’t want to play football, he doesn’t fit in’.
“Say ‘it’s OK.’ Just love them for who they are and allow them to feel safe, and then those little digs and the little knocks and the little abuse that they subtly get that we don’t know about, perhaps won’t penetrate as deep.”
Ross drew rapturous applause for his comments from the audience and his fellow guests, who included The Spice Girls Emma Bunton, Mel B, Geri Horner and Melanie Chisholm, as well as Kylie Minogue.
His words also got him huge support from LGBT+ people on Twitter. One man tweeted Bishop to say: “You’re amazing, I wish my dad was like you dude!”
Another Twitter user said: “John bishop talking about his gay son brought a tear to my eye. So beautiful to see a father love his son no matter what.”
Bishop has spoken in the past about having a gay son, and made headlines last May when he was awarded the Ally of the Year award at the NatWest British LGBT Awards.
Speaking at the time, he said he was “massively proud” of his gay son.
At the ceremony, he said that he and his wife have problems with their three sons “like all parents.”
“One of my sons has a tattoo on his ankle that was meant to be Africa but looks like Australia, one of my sons mumbles and one of my sons is a gay man.”
“I’ll be honest, there’s been loads of nights when me and my wife have sat up and worried and worried and worried.”
Bishop was met with laughter in the room when he added: “What are we going to do if he doesn’t stop mumbling?”
Marriage equality in Northern Ireland
In the same speech, he called on same-sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland, which remains the only territory in the UK that does not have equal marriage.
“I was in Northern Ireland recently. In Northern Ireland it is still illegal to have a same-sex marriage.
“I went to have a chat with some people from the Rainbow Trust who put together the biggest gay pride in the whole of Ireland and it was a real lesson to me.
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“I spoke to them about when the first pride march happened. It is people like this who really paved the way.
“Now the gay pride in Belfast has 60,000 people turn up.
“The first time they did it just fifty brave souls got together and when they walked down the road they were faced with people stood there with placards.
“They had placards shouting at these people ‘You’re going to hell’, ‘Being gay is a sin’, ‘You’re an abomination’.
“Back then there was more protests than marches. Now they dwarf the protesters.”