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Tom Allen says gay shame still exists in modern culture

Albertina Lloyd
·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
·2-min read
Tom Allen performing live on the comedy stage on Day 3 of the 2019 Latitude Festival in Suffolk, UK. Photo date: Sunday, July 21, 2019. Photo credit should read: Richard Gray/EMPICS Entertainment
Tom Allen says gay shame still exists. (PA)

Comedian Tom Allen has said he believes gay shame still exists in 2020.

The 37-year-old Bake Off: The Professionals presenter has published a new autobiography, No Shame, examining the shame he felt growing up gay.

Allen admits there have been many positive changes to gay rights in the past 20 years, but told the BBC: “We forget sometimes that that doesn't flick a switch.

“If you grew up in a world that was full of shame and silence and being aware of nail bombings, as well as violence towards anybody who was different, then it's wonderful that the law has changed because that's an essential part of the journey, but it doesn't mean that it goes away from our minds."

Read more: Phillip Schofield admits he is still 'pretty confused' since coming out as gay

Tom Allen with 'Bake Off: The Professionals' judges Cherish Finden and Benoit Blin and co-host Liam Charles (Channel 4)
Tom Allen with Bake Off: The Professionals judges Cherish Finden and Benoit Blin and co-host Liam Charles. (Channel 4)

He said coming out is "still tricky" and that the issue of queer identity is "an ongoing journey that we're still on".

Allen said: "I think the idea of shame still pervades."

The stand-up comedian said he still feels a need to discuss sexuality.

He said: "There is a sense of 'the more you go on about it, the more different you seem'. But it's just part of who I am.

“I think we are striving towards a world where people don't have to explain themselves. But as long as society makes a thing of it, it's worth acknowledging."

And he objects to those who dismiss camp culture.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Tom Allen attends Absolute Radio Live 2019 at London Palladium on November 24, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Venla Shalin/Redferns)
Tom Allen is proud to be camp. (Getty Images)

Read more: Will Young still hurt by Chris Moyles's 'rampage of homophobia' against him

Allen said: “I get very upset when people are dismissive of anybody described as camp, as though they're putting on a performance.

“Well frankly, we're all putting on a performance.

“A straight bloke in a minicab office with a topless calendar, he's putting on a performance, not that that happens much any more. But everyone is putting on a performance in life."

Watch: Who made The Great British Bake Off 2020 semi-final