The news has already become viral over the rainbow blogosphere and internet in general, but young UK Olympic teen star, Tom Daley " came out" this morning on his Facebook page, admitting that he was in a relationship with another young man, an event that both surprised him and turned his life upside down. "I'll still fancy girls," Tom said, undoubtedly as a way of softening the blow for his millions of young female fans. Yet his new relationship felt 'right' and made him 'feel safe,' an interesting comment that is designed to elicit comment and speculation. He has taken the cautious, step by step approach to coming out, by first implying that he is 'bisexual,' as with so many of my young high school students. But as we've learned from experience, this is frequently just the crack in the door that leads to full acceptance of one's essentially gay identity, preferring men to women as long term partners. Full disclosure and admittance for many young teens is simply too difficult and painful. This must be doubly so for such a young, prominent teen celebrity, and no doubt Tom is being sincere in stating he fancies girls as well. It's simply a matter of which gender one can give one's whole heart and soul to unreservedly. No wonder he looked haggard and stressed in the video, and minus his signature dazzling smile. This must be quite a stressful event for a young 19 year old used to the public eye. Comments on his facebook page were uniformly positive, with the occasional tactless and insensitive comment from Neanderthals, intermingled with the loving support. Some commentators implied he shouldn't have made it public, that it was nobody's business and smacked of too much teen melodrama. How obtuse and lacking in insight.
I'm commenting on this event today because by coincidence I was on line on Facebook when Tom posted the video, and so saw it instantly as it happened (along with 1, 500,000 other people I'm connected to Tom on Facebook). This was quite a shock, as it was completely unexpected - at least by me. Some commentators tried to make it seem obvious, but I hardly think so. In retrospect, perhaps, and given the fact he wasn't dating some famous teen fashion model or visiting strip clubs like the precocious Justin Bieber. Tom seemed so wholesome and 'boy next door,' too 'normal' for anything so edgy and daring as a same sex relationship. Of course we are all dying with curiosity to know who his partner is and to get a good luck at him. Lucky fellow, what a catch!
This is momentous news for the young gay teen community worldwide and undoubtedly young Tom Daley has already inspired countless numbers of suicide prone gay teens to continue valiantly with life's challenges and possibilities when such an outstanding role model is among them. God bless you, Tom, for your heartfelt revelation and best wishes for a long and love filled life.
The video can be seen on youtube here.