Monday, 2 December 2013

A Daley Dilemma

I fear this post may make me sound like an old grump, which is not how it is intended. But I am probably one of the few people I know who isn't jumping for joy or glowing with pride at Tom Daley's news today.

Don't get me wrong; what Tom Daley did was courageous, and I suspect he has made living much easier for thousands of other young people in the same position as him. For anyone (whether young or old - a famous Olympian diver or a Tesco shelf stacker) informing their family and friends that they are gay (or bisexual, transgender, or whatever term they wish to use) takes courage and should be respected.  "Coming out" is seldom easy, and to do so in the glare of the world's media must be so much harder.  So full marks to Tom Daley for doing that.
I am, however, a libertarian. I use a small l quite deliberately, as I would when describing my politics as Conservative with a capital (not a lower case) c. I have been libertarian as long as I can remember holding any political views at all. I never knowingly decided to become a Libertarian - I simply grew into it, genuinely not giving a hoot what people are, how they lead their lives and who (or what) they do. Provided they don't hurt, damage or inhibit the freedoms of others, I really don't care. I wear my libertarianism lightly; I don't quote Ayn Rand or try to emulate Howard Roark - it's just what I am and how I react to others. Perhaps the one thing which sets me apart from many Libertarians, I do accept that liberty and freedom also requires duty and responsibility. There is such a thing as society - it's just not the one imposed by the state!
Which brings me back to Tom Daley and the reason for my antipathy. It's because I really don't care. I don't see his sexual identity as of any interest to me.  His gender is as much my business as his faith, his height or his eye colour. If Mo Farrah 'came out' as a Zoroastrian and announced that he was dating another Zoroastrian, no-one would care. If Chris Mears posted a YouTube clip to inform people he had green eyes and was dating someone else with green eyes, no-one would care.  And equally, I don't care that Tom Daley is bisexual and dating another man.

And that is the problem. I wish Tom Daley every happiness in his life; he deserves it (as we all do). But the fact that he felt the need to announce his sexuality to the world, and that it trended on social media, indicates that we still have a long way to go. Yes, the reaction has been positive and supportive, but personally, I long for the day when the issue is so irrelevant, that no-one feels that have to announce it at all. When it does, we really have taken a step closer to equality.  

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