|Posted on December 2, 2013 at 8:30 PM|
As most readers probably know by now, 19-year-old British diver (and Olympian) Tom Daley announced today in a YouTube video that he is currently in a relationship with a man. He doesn’t label himself as gay, and says that he “still fancies girls.” I’ve said before that I’m pretty much over celebrity news of this type. It’s happened so often that the impact just isn’t there for me any longer. Daley is an exception since he’s a currently top-of-the-heap athlete, and the athletic world has been perhaps the segment of society that has been most resistant to people being anything other than straight.
As has been increasingly the case for me, I am most interested in the response of others. In this case I was struck by how routinely people are using the word “gay” to describe Tom. Even some news outlets headlined their stories with the word, and many others referred to him as bisexual, or as “coming out.” No, he didn’t say he’s gay, and no, he didn’t come out as anything. He simply said he’s currently in a relationship with a man. Why does everyone feel the need to attach a label to Tom? He may turn out to be mostly gay, or this may be his only gay relationship. Or perhaps he’ll turn out be pansexual. He hasn’t told us, and WE DON’T KNOW. We need to quit reacting as if we’re living in a two dimensional world.
HUGE numbers of gay people are saying “I knew it all along!” And that’s why they are referring to Tom as gay. Bullshit! And, of course, there are gay people criticizing him for how he made his announcement. For example: “This is barely an example of ‘courage.’ Stumbling over your words and saying ‘I still fancy girls but I’m dating a guy’ only perpetuates a negative/shameful view of gay people.” On the other hand, my favorite comment so far is: “The only people who should have to explain themselves on this topic are the homophobes. They are the outcasts in todays society.” And I love the headline from Slate. “Tom Daley and Maria Bello Come Out…As Nothing: Do Labels Still Matter?”
Here's a link to Tom's YouTube announcement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJwJnoB9EKw
And here's a link to a super-sexy video Tom made with his British teammates. Tom is hot, but that blond guy!!!