I have nothing but admiration for 19 year old diver and celebrity Tom Daley’s decision to reveal he is in a gay relationship via YouTube. His example is important and heroic – contrary to the poison already being spouted by vile toads on various social media channels. I realise those include young girls disappointed by his sexuality but more shamefully are fully grown adults queuing up to be just plain abusive. And then there are those wiseacres who knew he was gay all along – well done, you’re so amazingly knowledgeable! Not.
I shouldn’t publicise some of the abuse on Twitter but just to evidence a depressing point – here goes with one example:
cant believe people are actually shocked tom daley has came out you could tell a mile off he was bent!!
And one Tweeter has catalogued the abuse here – http://storify.com/heyjackcooper/tom-daley-homophobia
So why does Tom Daley coming out on social media matter then? Well, it’s very easy for London cosmopolitans to say that the struggle for LGBT rights is over in the UK – tell that to a kid being bullied at school in Halifax or Nuneaton….or for that matter in Peckham or Walthamstow. I’ve been amazed by the number of journalists on Twitter stating that Tom Daley coming out has no relevance for young people today. What a lovely liberal bubble they are living in?
Anti-gay prejudice among teens is alive and kicking – in some places worse than ever fueled by religious and cultural sentiments. A friend of mine and campaigning head teacher Shaun Dellenty runs a school down in Rotherhithe where he has a zero tolerance approach to anti-gay bullying in the playground and the pejorative use of the word ‘gay’ by kids. Check out his organisation Inclusion For All at www.shaundellenty.com There is no doubt that Tom Daley’s decision to go public will be a major boost to initiatives being run by people like Shaun in our schools. Bullying is still very real and damages lives.
- Tom Daley reveals his sexuality in YouTube video (morganjmitchell.wordpress.com)
- Tom Daley in relationship with man (bbc.co.uk)
- Outpouring of love for Tom Daley from celebs and fans after he reveals he is happily dating a man (metro.co.uk)