Afew weekends ago, I’d barely pressed a pod into my Nespresso machine when, lo and behold, there’s another tabloid exclusive revealing the secret affair of someone in the public eye. That man happens to be Tom Daley. Cue horrified and judgmental vilification on social media postings from gay men.
I’ve always been a supporter of Tom. We’ve witnessed him growing up, coming out and he’s one of the world’s most successful athletes. There are many other gay men, however, who love to sling bitter bile in his direction on reading the latest piece of vapid clickbait. This can all be traced back to when Tom decided to come out in a YouTube video. When Tom stated he still liked girls, inferring he was bisexual, thus not purely gay. This fuelled a golf umbrella of shady comments that were small-minded and rather insidious.
You would expect this type of crud from the ignorant heterosexual peanut gallery, but the lack of support from our own community is disconcerting and sometimes, frankly, up its own arse; there are those who say its important for people in the public eye to come out, yet when they do, they are judged bitterly by gay men on soapboxes from their perfect ivory towers. This hardly presents a beacon of hope. The belief in our community that sexuality is finite is also particularly absurd. There are some ridiculous labels around like ‘platinum gay’ (a gay man who has never even kissed a girl and was born by Caesarean section, thus never having had any contact with female genitalia). This is beyond conceited, yet not at all surprising that some gay men would tie in their sexuality ‘status’ to some sort of caste system where you get more Avios for the least contact with a vag.
Tom had further criticism levied at him on revealing his relationship with Dustin Lance Black. When a spread in Out Magazine showcased this, social media was agog with dangerous comments such as “It seems like he’s with a father or a creepy uncle” or “He looks like a cheap rent boy!” lending further credence to the agenda peddled by tabloids that gay men are perverts and jealous bitches. Well done all of you. Then there were those criticising Tom’s lack of clothes in the pictorial, which is particularly duplicitous considering the never-ending amount of semi-nude selfies we are subjected to on social media for no reason at all other than to bolster lacking self-esteem.
Then there were those who lapped up Tom’s nervous performance at the Rio Olympics, spewing hurtful remarks on social media while sat on a sofa eating pizza no doubt. Hadn’t it occurred to them that Tom may have been slightly feeling the pressure and tiring of the criticism constantly thrown at him by his own? This was one of our best athletes that needed support from us in a disappointing time for him. But some gay men are just too obsessed with Schadenfreude which really is just a better word to describe jealousy.
The society we live in advocates instant reactions to trending news to garner as many likes and faves as possible. This fosters a treacherous notion that the more shocking your reaction, however untrue, the more bandwidth it will gain on social media and the more popular you will become. I’m much more an advocate of honesty. Quite frankly, it’s none of your beeswax what has happened between these two men. Nobody knows the background or the ins and outs, yet many have jumped to promote the vile angle from the one of the worst tabloids in the world. Some of you really need to learn how to form an opinion.