SIR Ian McKellen visited Woodcote High School this morning as part of charity Stonewall's anti-homophobic bullying campaign.
The Lord of the Rings and X-Men actor told 600 students that "coming out of the cupboard" was the best thing to happen to both his professional and personal life.
He talked the audience through his experience of coming out to family, friends and the media, and his subsequent involvement with the founding of Stonewall, an LGBT rights charity behind the prominent 'Some people are gay - get over it!' campaign.
Sir Ian's talk charted the successes of the charity, from the repealing of Section 28 to the Gay Marriage Bill.
He said, unlike the prejudices he faced, there has never been a better time to be accepted as a gay or lesbian person, and that they should accept differences with interest rather than hostility.
The venerable actor, 75, then hosted a lively question and answer session with sixth form students, which took in the issue of gay rights in Russia and why no current professional footballers in the UK have come out.
Woodcote High is a Stonewall 'school champion' and has pledged to help challenge and eliminate homophobic and transgender bullying in the classroom.
Kellie Rutledge, the school's head of personal and social education, said: "We have been working with Stonewall over the past couple of years on tackling homophobic language and behaviour, delivering assemblies and becoming Stonewall Champions.
"The visit was arranged to reignite the campaign. An inspirational talk from Sir Ian left the students mesmerised and gave food for thought on how we as a school can move forward and become ambassadors for young gay and lesbian students of the future."