As you know, for the next few weeks, we are doing a week of content on a different gay British athlete each week.
This week, it’s everyone’s favourite – Tom Daley. Yesterday, I did a feature telling you a little bit about the young superstar athlete. Today, I will be giving you a selection of quotes from him, regarding his sexuality, enagagement of course – sports.
The most pertinent one to begin with is of course, his recent exit from the closet. His honest coming out was in this Youtube video, but he has discussed it with the press since.
In a July 2015 interview with The Guardian, he said: “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?’”
“It freaked me a little bit initially, but then it was like, ‘OK, this makes sense’. Lots of things started to make sense. 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.”
Next, of course, there is Tom Daley’s and Dustin Lance Black’s engagement. As you may know, the initial engagement announcement was pretty low key. It was a simple and to the point announcement in the births, marriages and deaths section of the Times.
What was really sweet, however, was how the proposal went down. Both Tom and Dustin had asked the others’ parents and had rings ready to go.
Tom spoke of his nervousness about proposing about he (like many others) wanted to get the perfect moment for it.
“There were so many points when I thought that I was going to do it: We went out on a boat in the bay, but there were too many people around. And then we went to Lands End near the Golden Gate Bridge and again, there were a lot of people around. We went to dinner, and I thought, ‘You know what, after this dinner, we’ll go to Dolores Park, we’ll sit down, and then I’ll propose, and it will be somewhere we can go back to and relive that moment.’ Well, we got to Dolores Park and it was full of construction, and the first thing he said was, ‘Oh, it looks awful here,’ and I just thought, ‘Great, I’ll just have to save it for another time.’ So, I ended up bringing the rings back to London.”
But when the moment finally came, it was probably not quite how either of them envisioned.
“I had the ring box in my underwear, and when he came out of the bathroom, I just went down on my knee and proposed. Then he ran off to the bathroom to get his rings, and he had this whole speech prepared, but he’s a writer so his was quite extravagant. But looking back, all I can remember is being completely overwhelmed, like, ‘Oh my God, we’re now engaged. Who do we have to call?’ So I called my mom, and he called his stepdad.”
Moving on from that amusing, humorous image to something a bit more serious to finish off. This time, it’s a quote from Tom when speaking to The Independent regarding transgender people in sports.
“The difficult thing with the trans community in sport – I think with the way it works, if you’re a male transitioning into a female, you still sometimes have to compete in the male category? I think that’s a little bit tough. With diving I feel [trans people] would be completely accepted, but I don’t know how it would work. I’ve never heard of it in sport, actually.”
And, in the same interview, he moved on to homophobia in sport.
“I don’t think there should be any reason for there to be any discrimination or homophobia or anything like that in sport because sport is the one place where you’re judged on performance and nothing else. More and more, especially in diving, that’s the only sport I really have experience in, there’s no homophobia whatsoever.”