First off, it’s mr. Tom Daley! Need I remind you what that entails…
But seriously now. He’s an international sports icon, Olympic medalist, and overall an incredibly sweet, worthy role model who has lived up to the part for many aspiring athletes. Earlier today, he has yet again used this ability for good.
Most of you have already seen this video linked to the post but I ask you take another moment to re-watch it. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJwJnoB9EKw) Now you’re probably thinking, “ok Mr. D0ntevew0rryab0utit guy. It’s Tom Daley coming out of the closet. Duh.” Well, sort of yes and sort of no. If you happen to be reading this and not apart of the LGBTQ community, T Daley has many many many supporters of the homosexual persuasion to say the least. Multitude of guys have scenarios which end in making him an addition to their families or other fantasies that can, well, just escalate rather quickly and graphically.
In this current world in the midst of ideological change on the sanctity of marriage and what sexuality is, Tom Daley in just under five and a half minutes was able to boil down everything into one simple message: “I met someone who makes me feel so happy, so safe, and everything is just great. And that someone is a guy.” He doesn’t say anything about “hey guys, I’m gay!!!” nor is he labeling himself as bi-sexual. All he does is list the key parts of a relationship: happiness, comfort, connection, security and states that the person at the moment who is providing that is a male, same as me. This video is not a coming out video as a lot of media has claimed it to be. It is an announcement for a human connection, an emotional bond providing stability, not an orientation, which makes the video perfect.
But what’s the big deal? Present society has labels for everything. The down side is labels come with stereotypes and stigmas which can hurt. Unfortunately the “gay” label has taken hits over the years. It is now to the point where, To quote Macklemore and Ryan Lewis:
Instead of compartmentalizing people in set areas in sexuality, the new focus should be on finding how you can make yourself happy at that moment because let’s be honest here, when it comes to sexuality
What can people learn from this?
This video actually gives a rather accurate account of what goes on in the developing mind of a LGBT or Questioning individual. The “it’s always been in the back of my mind” feeling that I’m attracted to someone of the same gender. The deflecting uncomfortable relationship questions asked by people, and that feeling of anxiety when we realize we are attracted to the same gender and the thought of
Once that shock is over, we all start to figure out how to move forward from there. Tragically, some kids don’t. For the rest of us comes the experimental phase. An opposite sex relationship here or a same sex relationship there analyzing both to see which develops more organically, which one doesn’t feel like a charade learned from mimicking tv, books, or actual people. Ultimately there will be a moment, like Daley said, the “click” where you meet someone and it just is right. Next comes the almost as equal scary phase of revealing said relationship or the “coming out” phase. We have pictured this revelation moment going so terribly for weeks, months, and even years. A distorted perspective generated by the horror stories of friends being disowned by parents, best friends suddenly not talking to each other, bullies and whatnot which stops us from telling people of our secret. This is the crucial phase where we have to soul search. There can be no forced admission. Don’t try to trap someone in a coming out situation, don’t ask leading questions trying to get a read or confirm suspicions. Just be patient. Prove your friendship or family ties can and will stand through thick and thin, no matter what. In this day and age, revealing you are in a same sex relationship should not be that big of a deal. Daley emphasizes this point (whether on purpose or not) by stating twice “this shouldn’t be a big deal because it isn’t a big deal.” Family suggested him to do TV interviews or news covers and such but he chose not to in order to make sure his coming out happened on his terms because it’s “what I want to do.” That’s the most important thing someone can do for someone else in this situation. Just let the person figure everything out on their own. Let them tell who they want, when they want, how they want, on their own terms in their own ways. When they do tell you, react how you see fit but the best can most often times be a “That’s cool. Let’s grab some food, I’m starving” because honestly this should not be a big deal since all you’re doing is learning a new character trait of someone to complete their picture. They are still the same person you knew mere moments ago, you just know a little bit more about them.
Once you start dropping this supposed bomb shell on people there will be a variety of reactions that boil down to the same three:
The people who are completely blindsided:
The people who “knew the whole f***ing time:
and the reaction of “yeah so, what else is new”
Even though there is a fourth and actually rare reaction of hatred or anger, it is the third reaction that takes most of us by surprise. You will also get the question “When did you know?” or “How long have you been into guys (or girls)?” like people expect I woke and and decided:
Yes, that is exactly how it works people.
So whether Daley had any intention to spurt such an analysis of a video he made or not, that doesn’t matter. Bottom line, Tom Daley thank you for leading by example and coming to terms with yourself and helping others come to terms with themselves too.
Cheers to you mate.