Comment: Is it right to call Lord Browne gay?

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Ben Cohen

Most of the time, I feel perfectly comfortable with my sexuality at Channel 4 News. The Channel has a remit to promote diversity and it’s hardly a macho environment.

But I did feel a little unsure about our coverage of Lord Browne last night.

To me the most interesting thing to emerge from the whole sorry saga is why the Mail on Sunday were that interested in Lord Browne’s sexuality.

The other problem is labels, a number of friends of mine phoned up to criticise Jon Snow’s use of “homosexual.”

“It sounds like he’s saying it with disgust,” one said.

I explained that Jon is no closet homophobe. But he does come from a considerably earlier generation- he grew up when gay meant only happy.

I then debated whether Lord Browne should have been referred to on air as gay, but I’m rather unsure.

To me, being gay means “good as you”, in many ways it’s a political statement.

I don’t think I was gay until I came out, to myself, my friends and family. And I guess to the wider world.

Lord Browne hasn’t done this, so is he gay? Or has he just had a “gay relationship”?

Should we care how he met his partner? Or is it just because he’s another man?

Ben Cohen is founding publisher of and technology correspondent for Channel 4 News.