Writer Nick Smith hits out at the internet grumps who have poured scorn on Tom Daley’s relationship with Dustin Lance Black.
Social media is renowned for its vapid comments and soundbite clickbait, but there appears to be a lot of bile aimed at a certain gay man in the public eye, by other gay men that are not.
All of this ongoing furore seemed to start when Tom Daley decided to come out in a YouTube video in December 2013. Some of the ensuing comments about him saying he still liked girls – suggesting he was inferring he was bisexual, thus not purely gay – were rather disingenuous and demonstrated a particularly small-minded and absurd view of sexuality.
Fast forward two years and it would appear that this love/hate affair with Tom Daley endures with the same battle lines drawn.
Out magazine’s recent photoshoot of the Olympic diver and his fiance Dustin Lance Black (featured on GuysLikeU), has led to an unwarranted ‘Out’pouring of insidious comments from some gay men on social media that are, quite frankly, wracked with double standards.
I found that those criticising Tom’s lack of clothes in the pictures were particularly duplicitious, considering the amount of semi-nude or strategic selfies we are subjected to ad nauseum on Twitter or Instagram.
One photo of a scantily clad Tom with a besuited Dustin Lance Black garnered such dangerous gems as ‘It weirds me out it seems like he’s with a father or a creepy uncle’ or ‘He looks like a cheap rent boy’!
I have to admit when I saw that photo all I thought of was the juxtaposition of their careers represented by how they dress, but then I don’t have a thirsty, dick-addled brain as is the wont of far too many.
The article may have been an outpouring of love and some of the shots a little saccharine for some, but this is a couple in love and they are good representatives for us in the public eye.
I have a lot of respect for both of them as the people they are. Tom is a very talented and successful Olympic athlete and Dustin is an extremely respected screenwriter and film director.
We obviously still have a long way to go if people can still say a photo of them both together looks creepy. This gives us as gay men no argument for when certain columnists come after us with their ubiquitous gay conversion-perversion articles…
It’s about time that we started using filters better on social media, not just to enhance lacklustre pictures of us, but rather to think about some of the things we write before actually committing them to the internet, so that a tabloid can use them as leverage for an article on how even gay men think gay men are awful.
I’m far more interested in where to get one of those frying pans that Tom showcased in one of his recent Facebook posts. The one with the many compartments. Now that’s something worth lurking on his social media to find out.
Read the full interview with Tom and Dustin now at www.out.com/love-issue/2016/1/05/dlb-td-forever