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Former Prime Minister’s aide Barbara Hosking talks coming out aged 91

Former Prime Minister’s aide Barbara Hosking talks coming out aged 91

Barbara Hosking said she'd 'go back in' if she didn't like being out

The former aide to UK Prime Minister’s Harold Wilson and Edward Heath has talked about coming out at age 91.

Barbara Hosking released her memoir Exceeding My Brief: Memoirs of a Disobedient Civil Servant on 21 November this year.

The former Downing Street aide has now spoken more about her coming out in an interview with The Guardian.

She explained while she has ‘always been a private person,’ she felt she had to be honest in her memoir and couldn’t write it ‘without mentioning the fact that I’ve been gay all my life.’

Hosking ‘didn’t actually realize’ that the book was her coming out until it was published.

She only realized when she was asked to do a talk during ‘Gay Week.’

‘Suddenly I thought, what have I done?’ She laughed.

Hosking continued: ‘My joke is: I’ve come out at the age of 91 and if I don’t like it I’m going back in again.’

Most people ‘were fine’ with Hosking coming out.

Barbara Hosking was born in Cornwall in 1926. She moved to London aged 21 to pursue a career in journalism.

Instead she joined the Labour Party press office.

‘You are queer, aren’t you?’

Hosking went on to serve as press officer to Prime Minister Harold Wilson and later Edward Heath.

The Labour party member explained she didn’t feel ‘burdened’ by the secret of her sexuality.

She said: ‘I didn’t feel it was something I had to be furtive about. Early on, there was nobody I could talk to about being gay.

‘But when I moved to London in 1946, my landladies took me off to this gay club in Chelsea called Gateways.

‘As I got into their car, one turned to me and said: “You are queer, aren’t you?” I said yes, but I was thinking to myself, what does this mean? Does it show?’

She was asked if she is as disobedient as the subtitle of her book suggests.

Hosking responded simply: ‘Yes.’

She explained she was once told ‘When will you learn that rules are to be obeyed?’

‘I looked at her in amazement and I said: “I was brought up to understand that rules are to be interpreted.” That’s my philosophy of life: rules are to be interpreted,’ she continued.