'One of the Scariest Things' — Olympic Diver Tom Daley on Coming Out

Sunday November 22, 2020

Tom Daley
Tom Daley  (Source:Instagram / @tomdaley)

When Stylist Andrew Gelwicks was preparing his new book "The Queer Advantage: Conversations with LGBTQ+ Leaders on the Power of Identity," he knew he wanted to speak with Olympic medalist, diver Tom Daley. "We need more queer actors, actresses, musicians, and artists pushing their way to the forefront of popular culture and into the public eye," Gelwicks says in an extract from his book published in the UK edition of Glamour Magazine. "That is why I love seeing athletes such as Tom Daley claiming their rightful space and receiving the praise and attention they deserve."

Gelwicks' book looks at the lives of queer people, whom he calls "relative outsiders," whose successful lives could be seen as role models. It was something he didn't have while growing up in a Ohio suburb and wrote the book — which includes conversations with Troye Sivan, Dan Levy, Billie Jean King and Daley (amongst others) about their queer life experience.

Daley came out in 2013 at the age of 19 in a YouTube video in order to end speculation about his private life. But he says to Gelwicks in Glamour, "It was one of the scariest things to have to do. I was so terrified to press send on that YouTube video. I wanted to get people off my back, continuously asking questions about my love life."

"Tom married Dustin Lance Black, 45, in 2017 after two years of dating, and they are parents to son Robbie, two, born via a surrogate," reports the Daily Mail.

Daley's coming out was big news and made the diver one of the highest profile sports figures to be open about his sexuality. He didn't, though, feel that he was treated any differently by his colleagues or by the 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."

Asked if he thought that being queer has positively impacted his career, Daley said: "Growing up as a queer person is very challenging. You are always told that you are different and you are less than. That automatically puts you on the back foot and you have to work even harder to prove yourself. Those challenges and obstacles are what have shaped me as an athlete and learning not to care about other people's opinions and what nasty things other people can say. The best thing to do is concentrate on you and loving who you are."

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