Live in Sydney
Harry with Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw at the British Fashions Awards- 12/2/13
these fragments i have shored against my ruins.
Someone get him a calendar.
I cannot believe it’s already May
he posted on MAY 28 like wtf how do you lose a MONTH?
Harry Styles and the Mystery of the Passage of Time.
I just watched Tom Daley’s coming out video, in which he talks about his current relationship with a man, and why he felt like it was important to talk about it now, in a video on his own youtube channel, rather than doing a talk show or a magazine cover. It’s a really lovely video, touching and sincere and almost painfully honest at points. And one of the things that stood out to me was his awareness that people would think that he had been a liar in the past, presumably for having said that he was straight or dated girls.
I think that one of the most negative consequences of policing public figures’ sexualities and identity is that it actually makes it harder for people to come out, if in fact they discover or realize later in life that they’re not straight. A constant commentary of, “Oh, he must be gay, because he’s effeminate/a diver/a dancer/really good friends with a gay dude” isn’t creating an atmosphere of support or a welcoming community. It’s creating boxes that people are forced to either fit into or reject. This is true for non-famous people as well, of course, but it’s even harder for those in the public eye, whose romantic entanglements are already gossip fodder. Saying, “WE ALL KNOW THAT YOU’RE GAY,” is a shitty fucking thing to say to or about a person, regardless of what that person’s identity is, or how supportive you would be if in fact they were gay.
People’s sexualities are fluid. Sometimes one person can change everything. Sometimes people really don’t know until they’re in their twenties or thirties or forties or beyond that they’re not straight, and that can be true without it meaning that they were lying to themselves or the world. And no one gets to declare what someone else should identify as, ever.
On a related note, we don’t know what Tom identifies as. We know that he’s dating a guy and that he fancies girls. That probably makes it more likely that he identifies as bisexual than gay, and I’m more comfortable with news organizations identifying him as bisexual than gay, because that incorporates more of the information he stated in his video, but the reality is he may not identify as bisexual OR gay. We just don’t know. And it’s not actually his job to fulfill our desire to be able to put a label on him.
Relatedly, saying you’re “not surprised” that he’s come out—even if you’re supportive—and implying that you somehow knew what his sexuality was before he told us, and perhaps before he even knew it himself, is not helpful. We like to be “in the know,” especially if we’re media savvy and queer or queer allies, but this is not ours to “know” until we’re told.
Maria Bello wrote a very lovely essay for the Modern Love column the the Times over the weekend talking about her unconventional family and how she’s incorporated her partner, who is a woman. Worth reading alongside Tom Daley’s video.