Channel 4 in partnership with Stonewall is marking the 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day. Celebrities and influential figures will take over the continuity announcements to celebrate coming out as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer).
Today, Thursday 11th October, the special continuity announcements will play out throughout the day providing links between programmes on Channel 4, E4 and More4. The line-up of special guests include: TV presenter, Anna Richardson; CEO of Stonewall, Ruth Hunt; TV personality, Ollie Locke; journalist, Paris Lees; Radio 1 DJ, Adele Roberts; presenter and stylist, Gok Wan; comedian, Suzi Ruffell; presenter and author, June Sarpong; Trans British Army Officer, Hannah Winterbourne; Trans filmmaker, Jake Graf; presenter, Tom Allen; and Oscar-winning screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black.
As they take over the Channel 4’s continuity announcer’s mic, each guest will offer their support to those who have revealed or are struggling to reveal their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Some will also share their own experiences of coming out, for example: Naked Attraction’s host, Anna Richardson, thanks her friends and family for their support when she announced that she’d fallen in love with another woman. Made in Chelsea’s Ollie Locke recalls coming out on the hit Channel 4 show. And one of the most influential LGBTQ figures in Britain, Ruth Hunt, reveals she came out in 1993 after watching the episode of the highly popular drama Brookside that featured the first pre-watershed lesbian kiss on British television. As an ally to the LGBTQ community, June Sarpong recognises the enormity of coming out and pays homage to those yet to do so.
The announcements, which will begin from approximately 10.10am (BST), are the latest in a long line of projects by Channel 4’s continuity team in support of diversity. Previously the team has marked 100 years since women won the right to vote, International Transgender Day of Visibility, Mental Health Awareness Week and Dementia Awareness Week.
Angus Wyatt, Commercial Development Manager and Chair of 4Pride (Channel 4’s LGBT+ staff network) said: “We often hear from people who have been inspired and helped by Channel 4 programmes to make the difficult and courageous decision to come out to their loved ones.
“National Coming Out Day is not about forcing people to come out, it is about showing people who may be questioning their sexuality or gender identity that there are so many of us who have made that step, and for whom it has got better. We are incredibly proud to have worked with Stonewall and our special guests to once again celebrate diversity and support those coming out as LGBTQ.”
Lucy Abell, Director of Communications, Stonewall UK said: “We’re thrilled to have worked with Channel 4 to mark National Coming Out Day through the voices of a diverse range of LGBT people and allies.
“We hope these inspiring stories remind people there is no right or wrong way to come out and that – crucially – it should only happen when a person feels ready. These stories show how far we have come, but also how much more there is still to do until all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are accepted without exception.”