Brave Tom…but should this be the case?

Thousands upon thousands of tweets, articles and messages have been posted around the world today regarding the news that Tom Daley is in a relationship with a fellow member of the same sex.  The general attitude that still remains in today’s society towards a homosexual relationship dictates that “coming out” is an event that requires support, rather than it being something that happens without anyone batting an eyelid.  However, approaching the end of 2013, should this still be the case?

Tom felt the need to post the video above via his YouTube account in order to prevent ‘rumours’ from circulating.  The fact that this decision needed to be taken, in this day and age, shows there’s a long way to go before the general attitude of society adapts to accept it as a simple fact of life.

Despite Tom’s best efforts in his video, in which he clearly states he “still fancies girls”, the media widely reacted initially by reporting that Tom had announced he was gay.  Should any media outlets have preferred to report the truth based on Tom’s words, they would of course have reported that he is bisexual.  However, we are of course dealing with the media here, therefore I’ll take a wild stab in the dark and propose that branding Tom as gay, rather than bisexual, makes for what they would see as a bigger headline.

I have also been reading today that cyclist Graeme Obree, who came out two years ago, confirmed that he’d lost sponsorship deals due to his sexuality because certain companies had a presence in countries that don’t tolerate gay people.  That is due, in part, to various worldwide religions that do not accept homosexual relationships.  This is where you come across one of the major stumbling blocks in hoping, one day, for a world that accepts people for what they are – religion.

History has proved that the general attitude of society can be changed with regard to major social issues – see Rosa Parks, for example, where her refusal to give up her seat on the bus for a white person became an iconic moment in history for the modern Civil Rights Movement.  Regarding the subject of sexuality, however, strong religious beliefs become involved, and this is where it is almost impossible for someone to have a ‘Rosa Parks’ moment where one person could take a major step to begin the adjustment of society’s general attitude towards the subject of sexuality.

Yesterday was the 58th anniversary of Rosa Parks making her stand of defiance to racial segregation.  Is it possible for someone to make as big an impact as Rosa regarding the subject of sexuality?  I don’t think it is, however, I’d happily be proved wrong.

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2 thoughts on “Brave Tom…but should this be the case?

  1. Great post, Stevie. The only thing I wonder about is whether the media reported Tom Daley as ‘gay’ because for most people it’s a relatively straightforward concept to get their heads around. Some people find it hard to grasp the concept of bisexuality (not to mention transgender/transexual etc.) so to label him as ‘gay’ is to put him in a box which suits our own society’s notions of the role people should play, i.e. where they ‘belong’. We like things to be either black or white, and don’t take time to understand or appreciate all of the wonderful shades in between. I too feel sad that in this modern age Daley had to announce his relationship choices so publicly – if he took to youtube to say ‘Hi everyone, I’m dating a girl’, people would ask ‘so what?’ and probably call him an attention seeker.

  2. Yes, that is also another possibility. It could almost be considered a ‘dumbed down’ label if you like, media outlets will therefore use the term ‘gay’ as everyone is aware of what that means without further explanation.

    A quick search I did on Twitter yesterday only goes to prove the point you made about him effectively being labelled in a ‘black or white’ category. Probably about 90% of the tweets mentioning Tom were labelling him as gay – incorrect!

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