Tom Daley Comes Out As Gay, Not Bisexual, But Why Did He Come Out Now?

Pocket-sized British Olympic diver Tom Daley has just come out as a gay man. “But wait,” you’re thinking, “didn’t he already do that?” No, not exactly. In fact, during his December 2013 coming out video on YouTube, in what appeared to be a very deliberate decision, Daley didn’t even use words like “gay” or “bisexual” to describe himself. He simply stated, “I still fancy girls, but right now I’m dating a guy and I couldn’t be happier.” Of course, this didn’t stop many news publications from running headlines like, “Olympic diver Tom Daley has come out as bisexual,” completely ignoring what Daley had actually said. Still, I’d wager that the decision not to use labels gave Daley an increased sense of control over his coming out experience. He spoke his truth, plain and simple. But now, interestingly enough, it seems that Daley really has come out as gay.

During a recent appearance on the U.K. television show Celebrity Juice, host comedian Leigh Francis (well, it’s actually Francis’s alter-ego “Keith Lemon” who hosts the show), asked Daley, “So you’re a gay man now?” to which he responded, “I am.”

Okay, that’s totally cool — but did something change? Yes, it’s totally fine for Daley to label his own sexuality. And yes, our understanding of our identities is constantly shifting and changing throughout our lives — it’s entirely possible that Daley didn’t want to use a word like “gay” back in December but feels that it accurately describes who he is now. But our world doesn’t deal very well with uncertainty — we have such an unhealthy obsession with labels. I mean, jeez, one of the first things Lemon wanted to do on his show was put Daley in a category!

So when I first came across the story today, I wondered: did Daley agree to being called a “gay man” because he wanted to? Or has societal pressure forced him into a box?

Of course, I can’t say for certain either way, but the way Daley handled himself during the rest of his Celebrity Juice appearance makes me think that he still feels in control of his evolving coming out narrative. When Lemon tried to get Daley to play a round of, “Let’s ‘out’ closeted celebrities,” he refused. E! reports that Daley said , “We don’t all sit down and write down each other’s names. It’s not like AA+. It should not really matter. Nobody should care.” Hear, hear!

Daley’s decision not to take part in the show’s juvenile game suggests that he doesn’t believe in defining someone else’s identity for them — and rightly so. It also suggests that he doesn’t believe that someone else’s sexuality should be speculated about and then shouted out like during a game of charades. How and when and even if people choose to come out should be their decision and no one else’s. I am so glad and impressed that Daley is modeling such respectful, progressive behavior for his fans around the world. Yes, he still appears to be living life on his terms — and that’s a good thing.

Daley is currently dating Oscar-nominated screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Check out a clip from his Celebrity Juice appearance below!