LGBT equality charity Stonewall has said Phillip Schofield revealing he is gay is a “massive moment” both for him and for society.
The much-loved presenter posted a lengthy message on Instagram saying that he was gay and that with the support of his wife and daughters he had been “coming to terms” with his sexuality.
Read more: Phillip Schofield’s statement in full
He opened up further about his decision in an emotional instalment of This Morning in which he told co-host and close friend Holly Willoughby that after years of watching the show’s guests demonstrate bravery, it was time to do it himself.
Jeff Ingold, Stonewall’s head of media, said it was a "hugely powerful and courageous move” for the 57-year-old TV star.
He said: "In the first instance, having high profile, visible, out LGBT people can make a massive difference in not just the lives of LGBT people, to you know be able to watch something and see themselves reflected and someone who they identify with, but also for the general public to see and hear the stories of LGBT people can go a long way in changing the way that people see and think and feel about LGBT people as a community.
"It's a hugely powerful and courageous move Phillip has made to be open about himself, particularly in the public eye at a time when everyone will have an opinion on social media.
“It's a massive moment I think for him and for society in general."
Incredibly brave and moving announcement from Phillip Schofield this morning. It takes a lot of courage and is always a hugely personal decision to be open about who you are. Congrats Phillip 🌈 https://t.co/TY32BaL2vL— Stonewall (@stonewalluk) February 7, 2020
Ingold said coming out is “always a personal decision”.
“But I think we also sometimes forget that coming out isn't just a one-time event, it's something LGBT people have to do many times in their lives and I think the reaction to Phillip shows how important it can be for LGBT people in the public eye to be themselves,” he said.
Read more: Eamonn Holmes supports Phillip Schofield
"I think all the positive reaction I've seen has shown that we want to create a world where more people feel comfortable being themselves... but for right now it's such a huge moment and I think it really speaks to the journey he's been on as well and how authentic he's been in talking about the difficulties he's been through which I think a lot of LGBT people will relate to."
LGBT online newspaper PinkNews' web editor, Ryan Butcher, said Schofield’s announcement “shows that you're never too old or too young, or there's no kind of rule book for coming out, and everyone does so in their own time”.