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*.
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.