Saturday, July 18, 2015

There is a great interview of Olympic diver Tom Daley in The Guardian today.  In addition to talking about his grueling training schedule Daley talks about coming out and the fact that he "always knew he was attracted to guys."  It is something that I believe that every gay male knows from a fairly early age even if, like myself, we try to deny it to ourselves, seek to explain it away through mental gymnastics, and go to great lengths in self-deception before admitting the truth.  Finally accepting one self and the reality of who you are attracted to and love is such a liberating experience.  Word truly do not adequately describe the phenomenon.  Here are highlights from the interview:

“I think I’m diving as well as I am now because of Jane, and because of Lance.”

In March 2013, Daley went for dinner at a friend’s home in Los Angeles and met Dustin Lance Black, a screenwriter 20 years his senior who won an Oscar for Milk, the biopic of gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk. Daley says it was love at first sight. Until then, his only relationships had been with girls, but he had never been in love. Had he thought he might be gay? “I guess it has always been in the back of my head, but you never really know. I’d never had feelings for a person along those lines. I’d been in relationships with girls where I’d had sexual feelings, but it became so much more intense when I met Lance. I thought, ‘Whoa, this is weird. Why am I having these feelings for somebody?’”

Did that freak him out? He nods. “It freaked me a little bit initially, but then it was like, ‘OK, this makes sense’. Lots of things started to make sense.”  Is this his first relationship…? He cuts me off before I can finish the question.  “With a guy? Yes.”

Does he think he’s unusual in discovering his sexuality so late? Well, he says, it’s more complicated than that. “I always knew that I had that attraction to guys, but I just thought that was a usual thing, being attracted to guys and girls. It was only when I met Lance I started having such strong feelings.”

Did Black encourage him to come out? “Yes, he was supportive, but it never got to a point where he said, ‘You should do something about coming out.’ He was just always there, supportive. At no point was he at all pushy.”

Did he discuss coming out with his mother? “Oh yes. My mum had known for six months, and so had my friends. Mum was like, ‘Whatever makes you happy, I’m completely OK with.’” It couldn’t have been more different from the reaction from Black’s family. “He was Mormon, so homosexuals were put in the same group as serial killers.”

Daley says he was unsure how, and whether, to come out publicly right until the last moment. “I thought, should I just not say anything and get caught out, which would be horrible?” And would he have regarded it as getting caught out? “It was more a case of, ‘Oh screw it. I don’t care what people think. I’ll do my own thing. I can still dive, I can still do what I want to do.’ Then I was thinking I could do a newspaper interview, but you wouldn’t want somebody to twist your words. You could do a TV interview, but you don’t want to be asked questions you don’t want to answer. So I just said exactly what I was comfortable with saying at the time. And nothing could be twisted.”

Was there anybody directing him when he made his video? “No, I did it on my phone. I was the only one in the room. That was the way I talk to people anyway, through my YouTube channel.”

How did he feel once the video was out? “It was a massive weight lifted off my shoulders. I was terrified before. And then when it finally happened I was like, great, I don’t need to worry about it any more, people know, who cares, whatever…”

I am happy for Daley and for Lance Black.  Having met his three different times, he's not only beautiful in person, but also one of the nicest unassuming guys  one could ever meet.  I think him profusely for all his work in bringing same ex marriage nationwide. 

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