Monday morning, my Facebook feed was filled with people well-wishing GB Olympic Diver Tom Daley. It was not because he’d won a tournament however, it was because he’d recently ‘come out’ to the world as being in a relationship with another man via the use of video.
The topic began trending on Twitter too, with thousands of people in shock that this had happened. Not only that but the story was ‘breaking news’ in the UK’s media outlets, which I found to be ridiculous. We live in the 21st century, innocent people are being killed all over the world and yet one man’s sexual preference became front-page news.
Of course I’m very happy for Tom and wish him the best in his relationship. I also support his decision to ‘come out’ publically because the media has a nasty habit of trying to find out all of your personal details. This way he was in control of the situation and could put across everything he wanted to, in one simple video. I also recognise the positive impact his decision could have on other young males and females who are struggling with their sexuality. Seeing somebody in the public eye, who had recently denied being gay, have the courage to ‘come out’ to so many people is something many people can take inspiration from. What I don’t agree with is the media sensationalising the story; behaving as if it is something that is a rare occurence.
Aside from the story being front page news, the language used to report the video release also adds to the problem of sensationalising homosexuality. I read many headlines stating “Tom Daley in a gay relationship with a man”. I cannot see the need to differentiate a “gay relationship” from a “relationship”. In stating that Tom is now with a man hevaily implies that he is at least bisexual, if not homosexual. This is the same issue that was present when the equal marriage legislation was the hot topic of conversation, with many media outlets reporting it as “gay marriage”; something so completely different from “marriage.”
Young men and women tell their friends and family that they identify as homosexual on a daily basis. It’s not something out of the ordinary and not something that should be plastered all over the news. Doing this implies that we should all be shocked and feel something about the issue. Whilst it would be normal to experience happiness at the idea of another person expressing their love so openly, it really should stop there. Yes, it was a brave thing to do in today’s (often) small-minded society but there are men and woman dying all over the world for doing exactly the same thing. It really does need to be put into perspective.
With Tom Daley being so well-known all over the globe, it is highly doubtful that many people were going to turn on him and say his decision was selfish or disgusting. Yet, when other males and females do exactly the same thing Tom did, they’re ignored by their families, thrown out onto the streets and even worse, killed. It DOES happen, all too often. For me, one of the reasons why so many people are still against homosexuality is the way it is perceived in the media. As I mentioned before, it is sensationalised and this influences the way others perceive the issue.
I’m very happy that Tom Daley is in love but I look forward to the day when somebody’s sexuality is not ‘breaking news’.