Eleanor Tiernan has come out as gay – and said she was inspired to do so after watching Phillip Schofield do the same.
The Irish comedian opened up about her sexuality on the the Insane in the Fem Brain Podcast.
She said watching Schofield come out as gay earlier this year was an inspirational moment for her.
“There was two factors about him that really chipped away at my head which is, one, that he was older than me, and I had been telling myself up to that point, ‘You can’t come out over 40, that’s daft.’
“I had to say, ‘OK, anybody can be gay Eleanor, and you can be gay.’ That was a big factor in it.”
Eleanor Tiernan has been gradually coming out as gay to friends and family since February.
Eleanor Tiernan started the process of coming out to her friends and family in February and has been overwhelmed by positive, loving reactions.
“I came out in February, I think. There’s no exact moment when it happened but I feel like that’s the time that it happened,” Tiernan said.
“I started going through that process of owning the fact that I’m gay, and sharing with and including people in my life, living my life as a lesbian. It’s been great.”
She added: “What I’ve been feeling is, you know on your laptop you keep getting asked to download an upgrade and you keep going, ‘F**k off with the upgrade!’? That was like what being in the closet was like.
“Coming out was the upgrade, and I was like, ‘No no, I don’t want to do it! I don’t want to do it!’ I’m fine how I am, the old system works really well!’
“When you have that going on, a lot of it’s unconscious, but you put an enormous amount of energy, emotional energy, intellectual energy, a lot of physical energy as well into curtailing and protecting a certain secret that you have.
“You’re trying to protect yourself by doing that but ultimately, I guess, it’s like putting a weight on a structure that it can’t hold, or it’s not designed to hold.”
I started going through that process of owning the fact that I’m gay, and sharing with and including people in my life, living my life as a lesbian.
The star said she knew she was gay since she was in her early 20s but said she didn’t feel confident enough to share it – or hopeful enough that people would react well.
Looking back, Tiernan said those concerns seem “daft”. She came out to her parents in March and said they were not just accepting – they were enthusiastic.
Bullying at school stopped Tiernan from coming out sooner.
“Now I have to kind of look back and go, what the hell was I doing, why did I wait so long? I think more of it is down to me than I was initially assuming.
“I think possibly the short version of what happened is when I was quite young, I had a bullying experience in school and I became very alert to not giving anybody information that could be used against me… It just seemed like a way to help people who wanted to harm me.
“I waited a good 20 years to see, to make sure.”
Tiernan shared the podcast episode on Twitter last night and revealed to her fans that she is gay.
My news… it is my nervous and joyous pleasure to tell you all that I am gay. A gay woman. Lesbian if you will. It’s something I’ve come to later in life (usual for me) but very much here and queer now. If you would like to hear more pls listen below. Much love ET ❤️🏳️🌈👭 https://t.co/tTMMcFclOJ
— Eleanor Tiernan (@eleanortiernan) June 25, 2020
She has been inundated with messages of praise and love from fans since her momentous coming out.