Robert Rinder recalls his brother’s ‘humorous’ reaction to him coming out

Tipping Point: Robert Rinder answers a question too early

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Robert Rinder, 43, came out as gay at the age of 22 in 2001, a time when England and Wales still enforced a law prohibiting the “promotion of homosexuality”. While the consequences were still very much threatening to the gay community, Rob decided to take his chances and do what was best for him, recalling his brother’s rather funny reaction to the news.

My brother [told] me, very genuinely, ‘I don’t care what you are, as long as you don’t support Arsenal

Robert Rinder

In a new opinion piece for, the ITV judge opened up about how it felt finally coming out, describing it as if the “sun had broken through and it was shining on me”.

“Until then, I had been living under a dark grey cloud of fear,” he wrote.

He touched on the “profound emotional cost” society has placed on the gay community throughout the years for a person to have to keep their sexuality hidden in order to avoid the significant repercussions.

He continued: “I was 22 when I decided it was time to tell people.

“I was partially motivated by not wanting to live a lie – a need to live honestly – and partially because I had fallen in love, albeit unrequitedly.”

He said it was a “soft process”, starting by telling his mum and then his loved ones.

“Like I expected, it was received with openness, kindness and unconditional love,” he beamed before revealing his brother’s hilarious response.

“My brother [told] me, very genuinely, ‘I don’t care what you are, as long as you don’t support Arsenal’.

“It is the biggest privilege of all to have people who love you as you are, instead of in spite of who you are.”

He noted that he was “incredibly fortunate” to have received acceptance from his loved ones almost instantly “and in my mum’s case, within 24 hours.”

But he added due to the perception of homosexuality in the past, people still have preconceived notions and prejudices about different sexualities.

“My sexuality should be about as important to you as the size of my big toe,” he shrugged.

“I shouldn’t have to sit down and tell you I’m gay any more than you should have sit down and tell me you’re heterosexual.”

After crediting his activist heroes and mentors, he concluded his hugely inspirational story by encouraging people to be true to themselves.

“I’m sharing my coming out story because I want both LGBTQ+ and straight people to know how joyous life can be when you are true to yourself,” he wrote.

“I am proud that we have reached the stage where if you share your truth with your loved ones, it is likely to be a good experience. For those that don’t have that support, they have a burgeoning community to turn to.

“For now, we need to frame coming out stories in positivity as it might make it safer for someone else to live without secrecy and fear.”

He added: “There is nothing more freeing than decloaking yourself from shame and terror and stepping into the sunshine.”

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