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British Vogue’s Edward Enninful: How I learnt to overcome fear when I came out

From Ghanaian immigrant to magazine icon, Edward Enninful writes on his past, his sexuality – and the dangers still facing the LGBT+ community

Tuesday 13 June 2023 14:18 BST
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Before I came out, I mostly just felt scared. Actually, scratch that. I felt petrified
Before I came out, I mostly just felt scared. Actually, scratch that. I felt petrified (Getty Images)

I was 16 years old when I first encountered a person who actually called themselves “gay”.

An unthinkably late proposition today, but this was 1980s London, and I was a sheltered Ghanaian immigrant – a good, Christian schoolboy who kept his head down, worked hard and always had his father’s words thundering in his ears: “If any of those gays come into this house, it will be over my dead body.”

Of course, it was fashion that opened up the world for me. The genius stylist Simon Foxton was that first queer person I met when he scouted me as a model one fateful day on the Tube. I can safely say that moment changed my life forever. It led me first to modelling, then to becoming a stylist myself, then fashion director of i-D magazine, and eventually onward to Paris, Milan and New York.

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