"I'm 51 and gay, but I can't come out": callers opens up to James O'Brien

7 February 2020, 15:42 | Updated: 7 February 2020, 15:44

This is the powerful moment a caller came out as gay to James O'Brien and opened up about why he can't tell anyone else.

This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield, who has been married for almost 27 years and has two grown up daughters, has announced that he is gay.

James' caller Joe found the story "amazing" and felt compelled to call in because he is gay and feels unable to tell anyone.

"I've turned to drugs," said Joe, "I'm 50 years old and I turned to drugs 12 months ago."

"Because the stress of keeping it secret was too much for you?" asked James, and Joe confirmed that he at times has felt suicidal having to hide the truth after realising he was gay at 12.

Joe shared that he has a female partner of 16 years and before that he had a partner of 10 years with whom he has six children.

The only man he's had romantic relations with is currently in jail because the strain of keeping his sexuality a secret has led him to violence - Joe said it's such a shame because no one knows why he's so angry.

Philip Schofield with his wife Stephanie who he said has been "astonishing"
Philip Schofield with his wife Stephanie who he said has been "astonishing". Picture: PA

James said Joe must feel alone but urged he mustn't do anything daft and must be there for his six kids.

"Why would it be so hard for you to tell people?" asked James.

"Just the society that I live in and the people I live with it just wouldn't be taken too well," sighed Joe, "if I was a teenager now at school it wouldn't be a problem... people of my era, it's just impossible, you know?"

Joe then revealed he first acted on his sexuality when he was 25 and instantly hated himself afterwards; James reminded him that he has a family and people who love him and "that should be enough", although he suspected Joe would never come out.

"I don't know if you'll ever be happy if you don't, my friend," said James, "I can't help thinking that talking is going to help you. Whatever you do and wherever you go. There will be people you can talk to.

James reflected that it was considered "brave" to come out in the 1980s when he and Joe would have been in their 20s due to the amount of bigotry and ridicule.

"Getting it out there is better than keeping it bottled up," he urged Joe.

If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed please call the LGBT+ helpline: 0300 330 0630