Sandi Toksvig was shunned for her sexuality at Cambridge University

Sandi Toksvig

Sandi Toksvig was shunned and humilated for being gay when she was a student at Cambridge University, an extract from her new book has revealed.

The Great British Bake Off presenter published an extract of her memoir Between the Stops, to be released on October 31, in The Sunday Times

As a first year at Girton College, Cambridge University, Toksvig said she began a relationship with a woman who she refers to in the book as “Truman”.

But because Truman was staying in her room at the college, it was noticed and reported to the college council.

A formal investigation was launched into her “suspect relationship with another woman”, and  Toksvig wrote: “It was made very clear that my continued presence at Girton was not welcome.”

She kept the investigation a secret and waited for three weeks without hearing anything, until eventually she asked a law fellow what was going to happen.

He said: “Oh yes, that. Yes . . . we’ve decided to let you stay because of your excellent academic record.” Toksvig said that the message was: “If you must be gay, then at least be clever.”

Although the investigation was over, the ordeal changed her and she wrote: “[A] cloud hung over me . . . I had gone from being a jolly, happy member of the college to someone who was shunned.”

This year, Girton college gave her an honorary fellowship as an apology.

When Toksvig came out publicly in 1994, she faced more rejection and even received death threats.

She previously told PinkNews: “One of the first things that happened was that the charity Save the Children fired me from hosting their 75th anniversary event because they wanted to protect Princess Anne from meeting a lesbian.

“I don’t know where they thought she had been living that she might never have met one… It took until 2017 for the charity to apologise privately.”

However, she said she felt proud to be the first British woman to come out in the public eye.

She added: “I started to get letters from women saying that they hadn’t dared to come out before, but then they’d seen me do it and they felt braver.

“Which made me feel braver too. So no, I didn’t regret it — I felt enormously proud.”

Between the Stops by Sandi Toksvig will be released on October 31.