Tom Daley – Taking the Plunge

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Tom Daley, stylishly relaxing poolside. |Image: Ben Quinton for the Guardian.

Excellent article in The Guardian yesterday, profiling British diver Tom Daley. I encourage you to read it.

Daley details where he is in his life, his career, his relationship with Dustin Lance Black. He’s cheeky and smart and humble. Generally, he comes off much more well-rounded than you would imagine for someone who is only 21 years old and who has been competing on the world stage since he was 14.

Good on ya, Tom. Not just another pretty face. (But is IS a damn pretty face!)

How to Behave Around Your Gay Teammate in the Locker Room

At the absolute worst, this teammate finds you attractive and has a moment of weakness and lets one little glance slip that you catch, and you notice because you’re (of course) already staring at him. Now you know how the thousands upon thousands of breasts you’ve stared at slack-jawed in your lifetime feel. Congratulations, Margaret, you’ve just become a woman!

via How to Behave Around Your Gay Teammate in the Locker Room | The Second City Network.

Priceless. It’s funny as hell — because it’s from Second City — but it rings pretty true. Take a read. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to head to a locker room!

What is homophobia? Why straight men are right to be afraid of homosexuality.

Clearly, men in America have grown up learning to be scared of gayness. But not only for the reasons we typically think—not only, in the end, because of religion, insecurity about their own sexuality, or a visceral aversion to other men’s penises. The truth is, they’re afraid because heterosexuality is so fragile.

via What is homophobia? Why straight men are right to be afraid of homosexuality..

This is an intriguing article, but like some who commented on Facebook, I don’t like the title, either.

Here’s the thing: this intense aversion to male-to-male closeness is a twentieth century construct. It comes, in large part, out of Eisenhower era fears — communism, segregation, ‘women’s lib’ — as much as anything. Not that there was no homophobia before the 1950s, God knows, but we became intolerant, intransigently so, during the McCarthy years, and we haven’t veered off of that path very much in the years since.

This goes hand-in-hand with how we make boys stop showing affection to other boys when they reach a certain age. We need to stop that, too.

H/T Steve Grand

New Doc Premieres About Jerry Smith, Gay Washington Redskin

You know I don’t “do” football, but if you live in Washington long enough (and I did) you start to absorb Redskins knowledge by osmosis. Jerry Smith was one of those Redskins who achieved a mythic quality among a certain generation of fans. And he was gay.

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Tight end Jerry Smith during his playing days with the Washington Redskins. |Image: Outsports.

And he couldn’t admit it.

It’s astonishing — I just wrote a post about a same-sex proposal on mainstream Days of our Lives — and here’s a reminder of how far we have come and how far we have to go. Pro football has given us many strong equality advocates recently, people like Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo, but we still don’t have an out player in the NFL. Soon, I hope.

Anyhow, this looks like a terrific documentary. Reporting from Outsports below.

Documentary delves into life of Redskins tight end Jerry Smith, a star who hid that he was gay – Outsports.

By the Bi — Diving into the Murky Waters of Bisexuality

There’s a good piece in the Times today about bisexuality. It’s not the only place. There’s a piece on Huffington Post, too. Andrew Sullivan also weighed in on The Dish.

What’s up with all the sudden interest in the B in LGBT? My theory is that, in today’s ‘Instagram me, tweet about it, Facebook it, text her’ world, we want to know everything NOW and we don’t want to think about it too deeply because, well, there’s just so much STUFF to know.

So, when some hottie like 19-year-old Olympic diver Tom Daley puts out a video where he says he’s in a relationship with a guy, we ALL have to render an opinion.

And most of these opinions make me nuts. Especially since Daley — like others who have announced different sexual proclivities lately — does not use the word gay or the word bisexual for the word heterosexual. Ay, there’s the old rub! We don’t like that. How can we gossip about something that we can’t put a label on?

“Bisexuality, like chronic fatigue syndrome, is often assumed to be imaginary by those on the outside,” writes Michael Schulman in the New York Times article cited above. What a great line.

When Daley first announced that he was dating a guy but still liked girls a month ago, I wrote the following (more or less):  I believe that it’s a valid point that some people are completely uncomfortable with or do not identify as “gay” or “bisexual” or any other term. We may be at a point in our sociological evolution where traditional definitions of sexuality are beginning — just beginning — to fall away. An awakening of the sexual omnivore? Why not?

And, why do we have to label anything? I mean, if we really believe the sound bite mantra “love is love” then why do we insist on the importance of labeling it? Why does Daley have to be gay or bi? Why can’t he just be in love with another human being?

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The Selfie Shared Around the World — Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black in London in an Instagram that allegedly confirms their relationship.

And Lord, have you paid attention to the gossipy gay media over the last month speculating — and gesticulating wildly — that Daley’s boyfriend is Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black who is — gasp — 20 years his senior.

So what? Can’t they just be happy? Why does age have to enter into it? All the arguments about age differences are in the same category as the arguments about a catch-all label for sexuality. In spite of whatever else you want to say, both of them are damn good catches!

Now, world, please go do something constructive.

Tom Daley and Society Diving to New Depths

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British diver Tom Daley – dating a guy but “still fancies women.” | Image: Clive Ross/Getty.

Out celebrities are symbols as much as they are people. And in a year in which sports culture and LGBT athletes have received unprecedented attention both for breakthroughs and barriers, Olympic diver Tom Daley is well on his way to becoming the next out icon. There’s just the matter of him defying any and all attempts to make it easy to say what and who he is.

Since Daley’s video announcement went live, media outlets, LGBT sites among them, have said that he’s gay or in a gay relationship, called him bisexual or insisted that he’s not, while others have simply said he’s “come out” and left readers to arrive at their own conclusions. All this despite the fact that Daley himself didn’t use the words “gay” or “bisexual” at all. Rather, he shared that, since last spring, he’s been dating a guy even though he “still fancies women.”
Tom Daley Has Found A New Way Out.

This is an excellent piece from Saeed Jones on BuzzFeed. I believe that it’s a valid point that some people are completely uncomfortable with or do not identify as “gay” or “bisexual” or any other term. We are, I think, at an interesting point in our sociological evolution where traditional definitions of sexuality are beginning — just beginning — to fall away. An awakening of the sexual omnivore? Why not?

And, why do we have to label anything? I mean, if we really believe the sound bite mantra “love is love” then why do we insist on the importance of labeling it? Why does Daley have to be gay or bi? Why can’t he just be in love with another human being?

Also, the gossipy gay media is all over the fact that his alleged — emphasis on alleged — boyfriend is Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black who is — gasp — 20 years his senior. Now, Black, whose talent is quite a bit more than the hack-level assigned to him by the bitchy postings all over the rainbow colored portions of the Innerwebs, does have a pretty well documented history of dating younger men. A “chicken queen,” we would have called him back in the olde timey days*.

So?

When an older straight man starts going out with a significantly younger woman, she’s seen as a “trophy” and all of his straight golfing buddies wink and nod and slap his back in the locker room. “He’s still got it,” they’ll say. “Ol’ Harold’s always had a way with the ladies!”

It’s much the same when an older gay man begins to see a younger man, but it’s somehow scandalous when it’s the younger man bragging about the older man. Suddenly the older man is the aggressive one, taking advantage of the younger. It’s a lot of shite.

Love is love, right? Right?

My advice to Tom Daley — since, you know, he’s calling me all the time asking — is this: love whomever the fuck you want and if someone doesn’t like it, they can get stuffed.

*By the way, in spite of some definitions developed by unlettered rubes out there, “chicken queen” is not synonymous with pedophile. A pedo is something entirely different.