Despite significant strides achieved in the fight for equality, homophobia is still an unfortunate reality experienced by many people in the LGBTQ community.
Former Great British Bake Off host Sue Perkins, 51, shared a horrific encounter she recently had with a homophobic man while walking her dog in Hampstead Heath—a popular gay cruising spot in London.
Absolutely horrific. https://t.co/agXVSuIW34
— Samantha Needham (@needham1985) October 3, 2020
Shameful, Sue is one of the best.
— Pops9247 (@pops9247) October 3, 2020
“I did have my first homophobic insult in 20 years recently.”
“And I thought, ‘Oh, I wonder if that’s coming back?'”
The man was apparently loitering near the public restrooms when he presumably recognized the beloved comedian and shouted:
“You f’king dyke.’”
Perkins described a contemplative moment many people are familiar with after having a similar confrontation.
“You know when something bad happens and on the bus on the way home you think of all the brilliant things you should have said in that moment?”
“I had that very profoundly.”
“At the time, I sort of went right up to him and went, ‘What did you say?’ And he sort of postured a bit almost as if he was going to hit me, almost like an intimation of something physical.”
Sue love and hugs being sent to you. It just shows how bad the U.K. actually still is and how the fight must still go on!
I hope you’re ok love! ❤️❤️https://t.co/89aUpGg5WQ
— UK501 (@UK5016) October 4, 2020
But Perkins maintained her composure and kept her distance as she repeated her inquiry.
“I just thought I’m going to stand here. And, very calmly, I went, ‘What did you say?’”
“I remember my hand was out – I wanted to keep that distance, like if you come within the length of my arm I know that something really bad is going to happen.”
“He just sort of buckled a bit and he went, ‘I just mean you’ve got a nice face, why would you…’ I just thought, ‘What’s my face got to do with you?’”
Aside from the obvious fact that homophobia is despicable, who the hell attacks Sue Perkins?? She's a national icon!
— Nathan Ernest (@NateErnest) October 2, 2020
“I just said, ‘I’m just walking my dog and I’m quiet and I’m in a good mood and I’ve got love for everyone here and you’ve destroyed that and you can’t take that back today’.”
“And I went off and I burst into tears. It was so shocking and so unusual.”
“I didn’t want to replace knee-jerk unkindness with knee-jerk unkindness.”
“I was so jittery and upset afterwards […] No one’s ever actually said that to me, that was the first time ever.”
I am so sorry!!! You never deserve that never!!! Ignore his ignorance!!!
— WebbWoman Married (@stablegenius53) October 4, 2020
It takes presence and courage to do what you did..on the spot! It reminds us women (gay, bi, trans,) to forever be psychologically prepared for anything..more power!
— victoria dizon (@lakeinamountain) October 4, 2020
What a beautiful human she is. So glad she's OK.
— Poltergeist 🎃 🍂 🕯 (@PolisLoizou) October 4, 2020
Why does the human race have a section that that love to hate more than to love and empathise? It's these people who also believe that their opinion is the only one that counts. We are supposed to be intelligent race!
— I warned you against Brexit (@AllHopeLost3) October 3, 2020
Concerning past homophobic encounters, Perkins recalled:
“When I was growing up it was just mutterings, it was all quiet, and a cultural thing of that’s just not quite right.”
The beloved presenter interpreted the moment as a lesson on how to face aggressive situations.
“’It’s interesting what you do in the moment, and I felt very threatened by him, but it was more homophobia aside, it was more an indicator of what I would do in an aggressive situation.”
“I thought I might have to recalibrate. I don’t want to necessarily walk towards angry people.”
Perkins lives in Cornwall and has been in a relationship with TV presenter Anna Richardson since 2014.