The gay world went all abuzz today with the news that British diver Tom Daley had announced in a YouTube video that he is gay.
But, really, he did no such thing.
Despite all the blog headlines and Facebook and Twitter posts saying Daley "came out" as gay, what he really did was tell the world that he is in a relationship with a man. He also said, "Of course, I still fancy girls."
That British term doesn't mean he still considers girls, or women, his friends. It means he is still attracted to them.
Here's what he said in the video:
"Come spring this year, my life changed massively when I met someone, and they make me feel so happy, so safe, and everything just feels great. And, well, that someone is a guy. And it did take me by surprise a little bit.
I mean, it was always in the back of my head that something like that could happen, but it wasn't until spring this year that something just clicked, felt right, and I was like, 'Hm, ok.' And like I said, my whole world just changed right there and then.
Of course, I still fancy girls, but, I mean, right now I'm dating a guy and I couldn't be happier. I just feel safe and it just... it just really does feel right. And people are going to have their own opinions and I think people are going to make a big deal of this. I mean, is it a big deal? I don't think so."
Daley said when he told his family, some advised him to announce the news in a television interview or on the front of a magazine. But he didn't want his words to get "twisted," he said, so he decided to make the YouTube video.
Unfortunately, his words immediately started getting twisted anyway.
Few in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are unaware of the tendency among many to negate their own comments when it comes to their sexual or gender identity. When LGBT people share information about relationships that don't fit into our society's binary notions of intimacy, they are often told that they are just confused.
More to the point, bisexual people are routinely told that they are, in fact, gay or lesbian -- often by others in the LGBT community. Academic courses on LGBT identity often refer to this internal marginalization of the bisexual community.
Daley offered little more insight into his relationship, and didn't identify his boyfriend. Maybe he said he still fancies girls to help ease his fans into the idea of his being gay, but that is nothing more than an assumption about his personal identity.
What's wrong with taking Daley's genuine, personal message at face value?
What's wrong with simply offering him the best of luck on the diving board in 2016?Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun