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A New Reason to Love Tom Daley

03/12/2013 10:22 GMT | Updated 01/02/2014 10:59 GMT

The news that Tom Daley has outed himself as being in a same-sex relationship barely made the needle in anyone's internal Richter scale wobble.

Even the outings of Ricky Martin, Joe McElderry and Will Young came as less of a surprise. It seems that everyone knew there was something Tom Daley wasn't telling us except for Tom himself.

Some quarters of the gay world have been snidely egging him on for years to come out. And they've finally got what they wanted, because now diving's golden boy has finally taken the plunge. Well kind of, because for the time being, Tom says he still fancies girls, so in effect, he's bisexual.

Online, I've read comments from those hiding behind their keyboards bemoaning the fact he didn't do it sooner. Well trolls, why the hell should he? People seem to forget that Tom is still only 19 years old and not everyone's sexuality is black and white the moment they hit puberty. Just because the boy-next-door grew hairs on his chest didn't mean he was ready to lean in one direction or the other as to who he wanted to sleep with. Sexuality is fluid; often people spend decades floating between either sex until they find the right person. And Tom's learned that at the moment, his sexuality lies in the direction of men.

There was much conversation in my office today about Tom's decision to talk about something so personal. Not because my colleagues were surprised or in anyway homophobic, but because some believed he should have just kept quiet. We work in media, so we know that once you've made a public statement about your personal life (which up until now, Tom has remained coy about) you're inviting other less ethical sides of our industry to swoop in like vultures and pick apart every relationship you've had in the past and will have in the future. Tom is experienced enough to understand that too.

For what it's worth, I think Tom has been exceptionally brave and has made the right decision. In a world that is not yet completely accepting of all things gay (be patient, we're getting there), he has taken a huge risk at the expense of his career and earnings, especially with the Rio 2016 Olympics in his sights.

In interviews I've carried out for Gay Times magazine with sportsmen, both straight and gay, they all seem to agree that homophobic attitudes in some factions of the sporting world will not change unless gay men and women come out while they are at the top of their game. Not once they've retired; not once their best days are behind them, but at the top.

However, they also accept that closeted sports stars need financial backing and sponsorship from businesses to afford the best possible training to be in with a chance of winning. These businesses want their brands to be associated with someone who can promote them to the largest audience, so they can recoup their spending. And some companies still believe that by sponsoring a gay person, their audience is limited to just their gay fans.

That way of thinking, is of course, utter bollocks.

All that has changed since Tom Daley came out is that the teenage girls who still fancy him now know that in their quest to become Mrs Daley, they've got competition from wannabe Mr Daleys too. And real, genuine sports fans that have supported Tom in his career are not going to ditch him just because he fancies Arthur and Martha. No-one is going to stop eating a breakfast cereal, wearing a brand of trackie bottoms or drinking a type of cola just because Tom likes boys.

Tom must have had advisors who warned him about the implications of speaking about his sexuality, and I'm guessing, some may have advised him against it. But Tom clearly doesn't care. He has shown being honest about who you is more important than anything else. Anything at all.

And as a result, a world in which sexuality doesn't matter in sport - or anywhere else for that matter - is not quite as out of reach as it was before Tom made that video.

Tom has told us who he is because he's ready to. He is young, he is in love and his world is being rocked by another human being. Don't we all want to shout it from the rooftops when we feel like that? Gay or straight, it is everyone's right to be happy. After the sad death of his father Rob two years ago from a brain tumour, Tom knows life is painfully too short. I get that, my father died exactly the same way and like Tom, he never got to see me truly happy with someone. It doesn't matter that for both of us, it's with the people of same sex.

There are thousands upon thousands of young gay and bisexual men and women across the world who have not yet found the courage to come out to their family and friends. Maybe Tom has given them that little bit of reassurance that, like him, it's okay to be who you are. Maybe they'll come out today, maybe tomorrow, maybe a year from now. Maybe not even at all, but they might - just might - have found a little comfort in the fact they are not alone.

People of all ages love Tom for their own reasons. Now, gay or straight, young or old, we've just found another reason to love him that little bit more.

http://www.youtube.com/user/tvtomdaley