Ben Thompson is on our screens bright and early as the host of BBC Business Live
each morning. And after catapulting into our Hot 100 list year (number 39 with a bullet - congrats Ben!), we decided to take a closer look at one of TV's most handsome and charming gay presenters.
As one of the Beeb's top presenters, with a finger on the pulse of the business world, does he think homophobia's still an issue in business?
“It’s changing,” he nods. “I don’t think it’s changing quickly enough, but it is changing. There’s so much more work that can be done, and there are some amazing initiatives – like Stonewall’s list of the top 100 employers – and I think that’s so important. I was at an event recently and one of the guys won an award, he works at a power station, and it was an amazing story, he said, ‘Look, I’m a blue collar worker, I work in a really male-dominated environment, and I found it really difficult to come out at work’, and it made me realise how easy I have it in the media in London. We mustn’t forget there are places where it is still an issue, particularly within the City, and if you’re young and you’re starting out, it’s really daunting.”
Readers with a keen eye on Mr Thompson might be disappointed to know that he's already been snapped up, and has a boyfriend of four and a half years - a fellow Brit he met while living and working in Dubai on a three-year posting at the BBC's business bureau.
Wait a minute - gay love blossoming in Dubai? Perhaps surprisingly, Ben says he never had any difficulties over his sexuality while living in the Middle East.
“I never had any experience of it actually, and I travelled extensively. A lot of my friends who were in the region, and were gay, they had no negative experience of it either. There’s a misconception about Dubai that you can’t do a lot of things – girls wearing bikinis, people wearing shorts – but everything there was in moderation, particularly things like alcohol. I had some of the best nights out there. Clearly there are sensitivities around customs wherever you are in the world, and that doesn’t just apply to whether you’re gay or straight, or a woman being afraid to go there because they think they’d be treated as second class citizens. I think the only issue is that you’ve just got to be respectful of local culture.”
You can read our full interview with Ben in the new issue of Attitude, plus a whole lot more: Celebrity stylist Brad Goreski, the Vauxhall 'acid attack' victim speaks for the first time, TV's most exciting new trans star Rebecca Root, Andrew Haigh on why gay men turned away from Looking
, Cyndi Lauper on Kinky Boots
, plus Joss Stone, Mykki Blanco and more.
The new issue is available for digital download now and in stores on Wednesday August 19. You can download it from Pocketmags.com/Attitude or order a print copy from newsstand.co.uk/Attitude.