I know it’s old news now; but Tom Daley recently revealed that he is in a relationship with a man. He made this disclosure on this YouTube video:
My initial reaction was pride. All out gay or bisexual men have had to have these difficult conversations at some point, so I definitely empathised. These conversations are hard enough, but for Tom it must have been even more difficult given his position.
Tom is an Athlete in the Sporting Profession; and how many out gay professional Athlete’s or sports people do you know? Gareth Thomas the retired Rugby Player comes to mind, but he only came out as gay after he retired.
Then there’s Robbie Rogers a US Football Player, who used to play in the UK but no longer does. It is unbelievable that of the estimated 4,500 professional Football Players in the UK, he is the only gay or bisexual one. Statistics apparently show that 1 in 10 men are gay or bisexual, so it is likely that there are many professional footballers as well as other Athlete’s and sports people that haven’t come out.
The reason Athlete’s and sports people don’t come out is the stigma still attached with being gay in the sport industry. Professional sports people worry about losing fans, sponsors and ultimately their jobs. Tom will have been aware of all this and is very brave for risking all.
I’ve read many journalistic reactions and opinion pieces on his disclosure. I’ve also read many supportive messages to him, along with some quite blatantly homophobic ones.
I wasn’t just proud that Tom had come out as being in a relationship with a man, but that he had put himself in a position of emotional vulnerability in search for acceptance. Acceptance is an innate human desire and in order to gain acceptance you have to let people know you.
Published by: The Gay UK on Friday 17th January 2014.