opinion

'Why do so many gay men find it impossible to be happy for Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black?' (Opinion)

As the dads-to-be face bigotry from the right-wing press, now is the time to support two of our own, writes Daniel Harding.

2018-07-02

This article was first published in February 2018.

I’ve heard many conversations about Tom Daley since he came out. Hell, I’ve even had so many conversations myself about the decorated Olympian.

Did he come out the right way? Is an age gap relationship right? Did he and Dustin take a break? Is he a positive role model for gay men? Why did he come out as bi? Is he more interested in fame or a career?

But something that regularly comes up time and time again is: Is Tom and Dustin's picture perfect romance too good to be true? 

The LGBT+ community (especially the G and B) seem to have an unhealthy appetite for failures, and I’m as guilty as the next pouting guy. Constantly waiting for someone to cheat, end relationships and then write a 140 character damning tweet about it. But why are we thirsty for the unhappily ever after?

An ex of mine once told me that I was far too judgemental. As much as I protested, he was (half) right. Without even knowing it, I’d pass judgement on things that weren’t even my business to judge. Some small and simple, some completely life changing. 

We are all so quick to quip ‘we’re entitled to an opinion,’ that those attitudes become ‘fact’ in our heads. However the reality is, we don’t actually have a clue.

Yes, we’ve all seen various revelations played out in the newspapers. We then consume the celeb gossip online and pass it on over a pornstar martini, but these Chinese whispers deliver only one side of a very different story.  

I’m sure Tom and Dustin are effected by what they read, both in print and the hurtful comments online. And while my judgement is mild compared to most, we all seem to indulge that little devil on our shoulder, without considering consequences.

The most recent news to hit our social media feeds is of course the announcement that the pair are set to become parents. You'd think this would be incontrovertably happy news: Here is a gay couple who have married and now begun to start a family, something that many people have campaigned blood, sweat and tears for. Yet it only takes a matter of seconds to scroll through the hateful comments that have reared their ugly heads on Twitter, dragging down their happy moment.

Ignoring the homophobic idiots, there are plenty of tweets from gay men that once again judge Tom and his ‘insufferable relationship.’ I have always hoped for a happily ever after myself, and although in an age where we are more open than ever (in relationships and life,) I still want that dream. But as I scrolled through messages like an addict feeding their internet addiction, my stomach turned.

People are hiding behind their phone keypads, but also behind their own jealously. Because this judgement and sickening opinion is just that, envy. We are all guilty of it, especially those that are currently alone, rolling their eyes at the happy folk (I know this isn’t everyone, but you know who you are.)

Tom and Dustin are already subject to scrutiny from every corner. The day after their baby announcement, even London radio station LBC asked if the couple were being disrespectful to women by not mentioning the surrogate at all. Perhaps what we actually need to do is support two fellow members of the community who've done more than their fair share when it comes to championing LGBT equality.

I once heard that there are a lot of ways to be a couple, we just have to find the right one. Maybe it’s time to just accept this and be happy for each other. Perhaps it’s time to let them be, and worry about our own ‘happy ever afters.  Because one things for certain, bitching about their lives won’t make yours any better.

The letters LGBT are bunched together to stand for something, so let’s try not to pull them apart. Because at the end of the gay, whose business is it anyway?

Daniel Harding is a London-based Broadcast Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danieljharding4