Sandi Toksvig jokes she’s still very much a lesbian while reflecting on brutal treatment from tabloid press to her coming out
National treasure Sandi Toksvig says that the tabloid press have stopped calling her a lesbian –– but that doesn’t mean she isn’t one.
In an interview with the Guardian from the work shed in her south London garden, Toksvig remembered coming out as a lesbian in the 1990s and the reaction from the tabloid press.
“I came out, and the tabloid press thought that I was Cruella de Vil; I never got that from the public,” the lesbian icon, writer and broadcaster recalled.
“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.”
Toksvig continued: “For a long time, Deb and I didn’t live in a house – we lived in a ‘love nest’. What do they think is going on here? We’re basically going: ‘Do you think these tomatoes have gone off?'”
In 1994, 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.
She faced a huge backlash for doing so – having to go into hiding with her family after receiving death threats – and was told she would never work in TV again.
But her quick wit and wry humour have made her one of Britain’s best-loved comics, and she’s often referred to as a national treasure — although in typical Toksvig style, she prefers the term ‘National Trevor‘.
Toksvig, 61, married her partner Debbie in a civil partnership ceremony in 2007, and the couple renewed their vows in 2014 when same sex-marriage became legal in the UK.
She’s been an outspoken supporter of LGBT+ rights ever since she publicly came out in 1994, when she was told she’d “never work again”. She and her family received death threats and had to go into hiding for two weeks, but the much-loved comedian didn’t stay out of the public eye for long.
Today she’s best known for her work on TV show QI, which made her the first female presenter of a British mainstream TV comedy panel show, and for her role on The Great British Bake Off – which she dramatically quit in January this year.
In 2015 Toksvig co-founded the Women’s Equality Party, an independent party dedicated to helping women fulfil their potential.
She’s used her influence to speak out in support of LGBT+ rights, and in 2017 she backed a Stonewall equality campaign.