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magdaAussie comedy star Magda Szubanski’s statement in favour of marriage equality left us with no doubt she was exiting the showbiz closet – but it was on Ten’s The Project last night that she finally got it off her chest.

Pausing briefly as tears threatened to flow, the respected actress and comedian told the panel how she defines herself, and why it took her so long to publicly speak about her sexuality.

“I identify as gay myself,” Szubanski, 50, gave as a reason why the topc of marriage equality means so much to her. “When I say that, what I’m saying is that I am absolutely not straight, I wouldn’t define myself as bisexual either… I would say I like gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, little bit not gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay. But unfortunately there’s not actually a word to describe me!

“But I absolutely identify as gay, and have for a very long time now.”

The show’s panel wondered why she chose this moment to come out. Valentine’s Day seemed like a good time, she replied but also: “I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time. I suppose people wonder why I haven’t done it sooner. I think it must be hard for people who haven’t experienced it to know what the pressures of being gay are. I love my work… you’re forced into this position where you almost feel you have to choose.”

While many Same Same readers have welcomed the news of Szubanski’s coming out with supportive salutes, some were annoyed that it took her so long to talk about it. What had she been so afraid or ashamed of? “It’s so recent that things have changed,” she explains. ”[Homosexuality] was illegal… your door would be bashed down and you’d be taken and prosecuted. It’s only in the last four years that we’ve had anything like the same sorts of rights of civil unions.

“There’s a kind of velvet oppression going on where people think it’s fine for gay people, but young gay people are killing themselves. It’s not fine.

“I’m an open person,” she reasons. “The truth is, for decades my family has known, my friends have known, all my colleagues – I’m sure all of you knew – it’s not like I was running around hiding it. But there’s a difference between living your life openly and living your life absolutely publicly. 20 million people knowing your business – it’s stressful.”

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