Announces relationship with a man
‘Overwhelmed by all the support! Means the world! Thanks so much guys ’
Thomas ‘Tom’ Daley is a British diver. He was successful in national and international competitions from the age of nine. He won a world title when he was only fifteen. By 2013 he had won British, European, Commonwealth and Olympic medals.
In 2013 Daley was studying on a scholarship at Plymouth College. He was involved in the ITV celebrity diving show Splash!, and later he filmed ‘Tom Daley Goes Global’, which was on television the following spring. His diving that year was affected by injury. Daley was very active through social media, and created videos for his YouTube channel.
In December Daley released a YouTube video announcing that he had been in a relationship with a man since early that year. He said: ‘I’ve never been happier.’
It had been a difficult decision to speak out about his private life. People were constantly asking questions about his sexuality. He avoided newspaper interviews. He didn’t want anybody to twist his words, which had happened in the past. He came out entirely in his own way. He sat in his bedroom alone and said just exactly what he was comfortable with saying at the time.
He isn’t afraid to speak out. As early as thirteen he was a celebrity supporter of Childline. This is a children’s helpline run by the National Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). At the time he had been bullied. Daley was praised in the media for speaking out about his problem. But he still had worries.
When he was young his favourite diver was Greg Louganis. He worried about having an openly gay hero as his role model. What would people think? When he came out he also worried what the parents of young divers would think. Would they discourage their kids from diving because he was gay? Speaking on the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs he said, ‘To this day, those feelings of feeling less than, and feeling different, have been the real things that have given me the power and strength to be able to succeed.’
In the 2013 coming out video, he did not use the words “gay” or “bisexual”, but he did say he still fancied girls. In a later interview when asked if he was a gay man now, Tom said ‘Yes’. He says he loves seeing younger people emphasise the ‘Q’ in LGBTQ. He thinks it is really exciting that people are exploring their own sexuality and refusing labels.
Coming out is not unusual in 21st-century Britain, but it is still unusual in sport. Coming out as a famous sportsman was important. He encourages other LGBT+people in sport to do the same.