Olympic diver Tom Daley, came out as bisexual yesterday, admitting he has been in a relationship with a man since spring this year. This story blew up all over the media and social network. Gay men were celebrating, straight girls were upset. People like Stephen Fry, Lady Gaga and others were congratulating him. There was praise, admiration, hate, love and every other emotion going Tom's way after he uploaded his coming out video on YouTube, and posted it on Twitter.
In his YouTube broadcast, he says "I met someone, and they make me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great. That someone is a guy"
He admits to "still fancy girls" and there has been a lot of debate on defining his sexuality. People were even questioning why Tom Daley coming out has created such a big media storm. The reason is simple. We live in a world where being gay is okay a lot places, especially in the UK, where Tom is from. On the other hand, he is an athlete at the top of his game. He is not only an athlete, he is a brand. A brand that attracts thousands of girls (and boys) to buy his books, watch his television show and support him in events such as the Olympics.
Even though diving is a small part of the sporting universe, coming out within that universe is hard. There are hardly any openly gay footballers, rugby players, cricketers, etc, when statistically there should be a lot more. That's why Tom made a statement rather than just holding hands with his boyfriend in public. He wants to inspire. A lot of young people who are confused, or even upset with their sexuality, would've found watching Tom come out as inspiring. He is making it easier for the gay boy who likes to play sport, come out to his family and friends.
Tom certainly defined his sexuality with class. He didn't say he was bi-sexual, gay nor straight. He simply said that he's in love with a man and still fancies girls. It seemed like not only did he want to come out, but he wanted to make a statement. Love is love, and that's what people need to understand. He said that the support and love he's receiving from his fans is "overwhelming", but for me, it seems silly that he even had to come out. In an ideal world, a teenage boy could bring a boy home to his parents and say he's in love, and everything carries on as normal. I can only hope that this could happen one day.
Tom is helping us break stereotypes and it's an amazing thing. People who still have old fashioned views are realising that there isn't a clique, gimmick or shtick that comes with being gay. You don't have to be in fashion to be gay, you don't have to like pop music to be gay, but you might be an Olympic diver.
Thank you Tom. You're an inspiration to me and many others.
Follow Jack Rattenbury on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KC4J