Coming out for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ is a tricky thing to navigate. It can be that much more difficult when you’re an internationally-known star like Tom Daley who made the decision to let the world know about his true sexuality in a YouTube video posted seven years ago.
Tom, along with many other headline-making sports figures like Megan Rapinoe and Michael Sam, have been living their authentic lives to the fullest as a member of our community after publicly coming out. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do for the beloved diver, however, which he spoke about in a new book by Andrew Gelwicks called The Queer Advantage: Conversations with LGBTQ+ Leaders on the Power of Identity.
“It was one of the scariest things to have to do. I was so terrified to press send on that YouTube video,” he said about the above clip. “I wanted to get people off my back, continuously asking questions about my love life. I knew I had found love. And I wanted people to know that. Doing a YouTube video was the way I communicated with my fans and was the only way I could say exactly what I wanted to say without getting my words twisted.”
Tom was also asked about being openly gay in the sports world which is a topic that has been talked about quite a lot lately. The 26-year-old revealed that he is “lucky” and that he hasn’t “felt any differential treatment” towards him in what he does as an athlete.
“The differential treatment usually comes from some of the fans of the sport in particular,” he said. “Within sport, we are only as good as we are on the field of play. Our love life isn’t a factor in what we do as sport. In diving, I am judged for how I do my dives. Not who I love. When fans of sports that are less accepting of LGBTQ+ people can see them as human beings playing the sport they love, I think we will see a lot more sports people come out.”
Tom also gave his two cents about the world’s perception of what a queer man is in 2020. “I don’t think the question should be about how people perceive queer men, but how people in general can be perceived,” he responded in part. “We are all beautiful and extremely different creatures. We have to be free to explore who we are, without judgment from the world.”
Other topics of conversation centered around what many other gay kids felt they had to do in sports when growing up. “When you are always seen as an outsider, you have to work even harder. That also comes from myself growing up and feeling like I needed to prove myself by being good at something to make up for feeling like I was letting everyone down with my sexuality.
The years after Tom coming out were quite wonderful for him in his personal life. He got engaged to Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black in October 2015 before getting married two years later. The gorgeous couple then welcomed their first child, a son Robert “Robbie” Ray Black-Daley, via surrogacy on June 27, 2018.