Derren Brown on the disappointment of coming out: 'It’s not that people react badly to it – they really don't care'

The illusionist questions why sexuality draws so much attention

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Derren Brown says that people worry too much about coming out, arguing that it isn’t a big a deal as one might think.

The illusionist, who revealed he was gay in 2007 in The Independent on Sunday, says sexuality revelations are built up as a taboo subject that people might react badly to, instilling further pressure.

"You walk around with something for years that you build into this huge secret but it isn’t reflected to how it is in other people’s eyes," said Brown. "It’s so important to defuse that because it becomes a huge misery needlessly.

"There’s a nice quote by David Foster Wallace: 'We’d worry a lot less about what other people think about us if we realised how seldom they do.'"

He adds that, while liberating, coming out is a "worthwhile lesson that people don’t spend their time thinking about others".


Brown said that there are pitfalls of labelling sexuality.

"It can be very liberating for some people, but can also slightly detract from the subtleties of sexuality," he told The Metro. "If you’re not vegetarian, you suddenly get frustrated with vegetarians. Can’t you just decide you are not going to eat meat without putting a label on it? What if you suddenly decide you’re going to eat meat?"

Growing up, he tried to train himself out of being gay, partly due to his then belief in Christianity and once went to a religious camp to be "cured". He is now an aestheist.

Brown dated a man for a month, before telling anyone of his sexuality, aged 31.

"The process of coming out is normally very disappointing," he said. "It’s not that people react badly to it - they really don’t care."