The comedian and broadcaster BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz for nine years, replace Stephen Fry as host of the popular intellectual quiz show QI and even found her own political party. She came out as gay in 1994, when a gay culture was not so widespread and LGBT people were discriminated much more than they are now. So she was told by her chiefs that she would never work again.
Following the ensuing media frenzy, Toksvig also found herself and her family in very real danger.
“It was terrifying. We had very unpleasant death threats and we had to go into hiding with the children for two weeks. We had to have police protection, and security, and all kinds of things.” However, she says she was determined to make her young family proud by being honest about who she was – regardless of the consequences. By then I had three children, three young children, and I wasn’t prepared for them to live with the secret. I didn’t want them to grow up thinking there was anything at all to be ashamed of, having two mums.”
The Women Equality’s Party co-founder also discussed the lack of role models for women – both straight and LGBT – at the time and the effect her coming out had. I began to get letters from women, saying ‘I’ve never dared, but thanks to you I’m going to say something.’ I grew up knowing my earliest time that I was gay and feeling awkward and uncomfortable with that,” she added.