Tom Daley, 19, UK Olympic diving medalist, comes out as gay/bi (video)

19 year old British diver, and Olympic 2016 hopeful, Tom Daley came out as gay (or possibly bi) a few hours ago in a really touching video to his fans.


I’d just googled him and saw that he was 19.


A rather pensive guy for a 19 year old.

Daley tweeted his coming out video earlier today:


In the coming out video, Daley noted that some of his family took the news very well, others less so.

Daley’s mom is one of those who took the news well.


British Olympic diving bronze medalist Tom Daley comes out. (Photo via Jim Thurston)

British Olympic diving bronze medalist Tom Daley comes out. (Photo via Jim Thurston)

While Daley might be bi, and not gay, the way he describes his coming out sounds like the coming out of a lot of my gay friends (though not me).  He talks about still “fancying” women, but when he finally met and dated a guy, it was an entirely different, and seemingly more intense (better?) ballgame.  At least in my experience that tends to mean you’re gay, and not bi.

Though, in the end, the terminology doesn’t really matter – it’s all the same thing on a sliding scale, the words are always somewhat imprecise. He is what he is.


(I’m told that in order to actually see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me – so say the experts.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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52 Responses to “Tom Daley, 19, UK Olympic diving medalist, comes out as gay/bi (video)”

  1. chad edwards says:

    to right we do it was hard forme and i hope him the best

  2. chad edwards says:

    good on ya tom

  3. Ninong says:

    Tom Daley’s boyfriend is 39-year-old Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black.

  4. rmthunter says:

    It may be pointless, in terms of actually getting a reasoned response, but it does shift the onus.

    And thanks for the heads up. I’ll know to ignore him from now on.

  5. Yes, the gaydar was strong on that one :)

  6. Mike_H says:

    This is one of those interesting questions that I think we’ll not truly be able to investigate until the world as a whole is “post-gay”. As long as there is strong anti-gay discrimination, you’ll have closet cases and you’ll have the need to fight back, stand strong and proud and united. So the “labels” still matter and probably will for a while, but maybe eventually we can get beyond that.

    For me, thought I did the “claim to be bi” thing as a transition when coming out, there really is no doubt in my mind that I have *always* been a 100% card-carrying member of Team Gay. I don’t disbelieve the existence of bisexuals, but I don’t think what you call yourself at 19 is any strong indicator of what you’ll call yourself at 30 or 40, either.

    And that’s not a slam on anyone, it’s just an acknowledgement that at 19 we’re all still a bit “unformed”, still “baking” if you will.

  7. Mike_H says:

    I don’t think your argument holds water, to be honest, and seems to be demonstrably untrue in some cases. George Michael’s problems were George Michael, not the gay community. And Ricky Martin seems to be going strong, living proudly and happily and is still quite successful.

    I think it’s a bit troubling that you harbor so much animosity to the “gay scene” (whatever that is), and maybe that’s something you should take a look at. While there are destructive elements to the party culture (for gays AND for straights, or haven’t you heard of “spring break” and “girls gone wild”?) there is also a lot of community and support available in the “gay scene”.

    You get out of it what you put into it, mostly, like much of life.

  8. Cousin Bleh says:

    Just FYI: “Brian Apple” is a frequent commenter at Towleroad, JMG, and several other LGBT blogs. His comments are riddled with rampant misogyny and internalized homophobia (assuming he’s actually gay, which is questionable). He often comments that AIDS is not caused by the HIV virus, but rather by poppers and promiscuity.

    Asking him to explain his comments is a pointless endeavor.

  9. dcinsider says:

    This question makes me uncomfortable :)

  10. rmthunter says:

    I’d love to know where you’re getting your information on female psychology. So far, it’s totally out on the fringe.

    Here are women’s top 10 reasons for having sex, from this study (, as summarized in this article (

    1. I felt attracted to the person.
    2. I wanted to experience the physical pleasure.
    3. It feels good.
    4. I wanted to show my affection for my partner.
    5. I wanted to express my love for my partner.
    6. I was sexually aroused and wanted the release.
    7. I felt horny.
    8. It’s fun.
    9. I realized I was in love.
    10. I was swept up in the heat of the moment.

    They’re not all that different from the reasons men have sex. And the “rewards” part occurs in the bottom 10 for both.

  11. TheAngryFag says:

    Yeah. I read “I still like girls but I am dating a guy” as bisexual.

  12. TheAngryFag says:

    The funny part in all of this was the fact I, and many others, were not surprised about this in the least bit. I got my shock about his sexuality when I was curious and found out he was supposedly heterosexual.

    But then again, every so often the gaydar’s Wishful Thinking frequency does get an accurate ping.

  13. rmthunter says:

    Keep in mind that we’re all raised with “straight” as the default norm. It can take a while to get past that and figure the whole thing out, and for many people, “bisexual” retains a measure of that acceptability.

  14. rmthunter says:

    I’d love to know where you get the idea that women find male homosexuality offensive? I’ve never seen anything that would support that, unless you count WBC.

  15. rmthunter says:

    I rather strongly suspect being comforted by the binary is not something intrinsic to our human brains, but is rather the result of 2,000 years of exposure to a system of thought that sees the universe that way — also known as the “Judeo-Christian tradition,” Most other cultures that I’ve read about seem to see things as shades of gray rather than black and white.

  16. rmthunter says:

    If you honestly think “women don’t like homosexuality in men who are marketing romance to them” I’d like to direct you to what’s known variously as “yaoi,” “shounen-ai” and “boys love” manga — Japanese comics about romances between older teen boys and/or young men directed specifically at teenage girls and young women. The market is 85% female,and over 95% of the creators are women — who I suspect know what women like. Oh, and boy bands? All of which seem to have at least one gay member, but it’s usually hard to figure out which one it is.

    As for the “gay scene” — any scene will swallow you up and spit you out, if you’re of a sort to be used like that. I know too many gay men who dip into the scene when they feel like it, then go back to their normal lives, for that statement to have much credibility.

  17. The_Fixer says:

    I found one thing kind of interesting in this video.

    Someone else on another site mentioned it, but his face kind of scrunches up when he says “Of course I still fancy girls”, leading one to think that his body language is betraying him – perhaps he’s being disingenuous. I don’t entirely know about that, although it’s tempting to think that. He may have had some other thought in his mind (like “I’m sick of talking about this”) when he said that.

    I’ve known a few people who came out as bi before eventually coming out as gay. I’m inclined to think that perhaps this may be part of some people’s natural growth process, rather than outright deceit. Remember that we live in a heteronormative society; it’s assumed that you’ll grow up straight and that’s that. He may have had relationships (or encounters, anyway) with females that were perhaps pleasant, but nothing awe-inspiring. So maybe he at one time didn’t think that he met the right woman yet, etc. Can anyone be faulted for feeling like being straight is the only way when you’re bombarded with it day after day?

    Which isn’t to say that we all go through that process, some of us know we’re gay or bi from a relatively young age.

    And knowing some people who are just a few years older than Tom Daley, I can say that they have somewhat different views of sexual orientation than perhaps their parents and grandparents have. They tend to think of sexuality as being on a gradient of sorts. I’ve heard some folks in this age bracket say things like “Everybody is bisexual, it’s just a matter of degree.” While I think it’s a little more complicated than that, they do have a point – sexuality is more than simple black-and-white.

    So I am willing to take his word for it, and if he later says he is gay, fine. I won’t consider this to be an act of deceit directed at anyone – it’s simply the way he feels at the time.

    And at 19, he has a lot of fun and discovery ahead of him. I wish him the best.

  18. Ninja0980 says:

    I’ve been dating a man for several years that is bisexual and will tell you that if you ask him (thankfully that’s stopped for the most part.)
    They do exist and I am disheartened to see so many dismiss his feelings or statements.
    It is possible this is a small stepping stone until he admits he’s 100% gay.
    Or he could be like my bf,who swings both ways but has no problem committing to either gender if he truly falls in love.
    The B isn’t in there for fun folks. He says he’s not gay,I’ll take him at his word.

  19. Badgerite says:

    What a great kid. Of course his mother still loves and supports him. He’s a great kid.

  20. Naja pallida says:

    I fail to see how coming out (or rather, admitting what most people assumed anyway) destroyed either of their careers. They are both still capable of packing a venue, and their last albums each topped their respective charts. Ricky Martin specifically took several years off for his family, and is now a coach on the Australian version of The Voice. George Michael has had arrests and other issues that hurt himself, he also had problems with his record company, and some health problems. Trying to blame gay men for their career trajectories is grasping at straws.

  21. I don’t think he said he’s bi at all. You’re just as guilty of trying to erase something as I am :)

  22. Well, actually, while I would agree that men and women do often, generically, treat sex differently, it tends to be the men you need to be careful of :)

  23. Agree. But still enjoyed his coming out. Very classy. And awfully mature for 19.

  24. What did anyone do to George Michael and Ricki Martin?

  25. Moderator3 says:

    So you are a misogynist and a self loathing gay. Be careful.

  26. Moderator3 says:

    You have definitely moved into misogyny. Tread carefully.

  27. Brian Apple says:

    Dan, you are confusing female sexuality with male sexuality. They are two different things. Female sexuality is based on using sex to obtain rewards whereas male sexuality is based on pleasure.

    Therefore, female sexuality should be taken with a grain of salt. It is not genuine.

  28. Brian Apple says:

    Could it be because women find male homosexuality offensive if it exists in men who are also attracted to women? The resentment of women could be a factor which drives bisexual men towards men.

  29. Brian Apple says:

    I’m glad that Tom Daley hasn’t used a label. Labels are not for everyone. Labels are OK for those who wish to use them but they are not applicable to everybody.

    The danger in calling oneself a label is that it enables others to own you…and then to destroy you. Gay men are famous for owning and destroying. Just look at what happened to the careers of George Michael and Ricki Martin after they came out. Gay men took both these artists and destroyed their careers. Women stopped buying their albums because women don’t like male homosexuality in men who are marketing romance to them.

    I also think Tom should avoid the gay scene. The gay scene will swallow you up and spit you out. It doesn’t care about your sanity or your health.

  30. Brian Apple says:

    Your comment is silly and juvenile.

  31. AnitaMann says:

    I’ve said this for years. “Gay” and “Lesbian” are helpful labels and identities, politically, for identifying discrimination against those who are not 100 percent “straight.” But they’re just labels and identities. Seems like there’s a big swath of people who are uncomfortable with the real truth: that sexuality is a little bit more nuanced and fluid than we’d like to believe, no matter what camp we’re sure we belong in, and it changes over a lifetime. Our human brains are comforted by the binary, wanting to believe that everyone must have a label, and it must fit neatly into a category. “Generally sexual human” while more accurate, just doesn’t sound good, but might be the most accurate way to describe this guy.

  32. TheAngryFag says:

    I subscribed, past tense, to Dr. Ruth’s theory because it did make logical sense in the march towards everyone being in a monogamous relationship.

    I’m not denying that people use bisexuality as a cover or as rationalization for engaging in same-sex sexual encounters and still maintaining a shred of heterosexuality. But that is a moot point.

    The number one complaint bisexuals have against us gays is that we engage in erasing their bisexuality. Your FaceBook headline was “Tom Daley, 19, UK Olympic diving medalist, comes out as gay (video)”. That immediately labeled him as something he didn’t say.

    He may come out as fully gay at a later time as Mika did. But in the meantime, he says he’s bi so out of respect for him I leave him bi even though the voice in the back of my head goes “Yeah, I said I was bi earlier in life than that”

  33. Yes we should let people define themselves, in principle, but as we saw with Cynthia Nixon, not everyone is as precise with their language as they should be in order to be accurate. What she said originally was simply wrong. And people defended her with the “we are what we choose to say we are.” And no we most definitely are not what we say we are. We are what we are, and sometimes words are wrong.

    As for Dan being criticized. Dan is criticized for breathing, as am I. I was labeled a lifelong bisexual hater for one punny headline. And Dan is called a trans hater for comments that, when you click through and actually read them, or usually twisted to mean what Dan-haters wants the to mean. So I’m sorry but I give less and less credence to what the masses claim to be offended by.

    Dan already explained what he was talking about, re bisexuality, and his point was perfectly reasonable. A lot of gay people first coming out claim to be bi (bi-curious to exact), and they’re not. It’s comfortable cover, or perhaps just confusion as to what they really are, which is understandable. But it doesn’t mean they’re bi. And they thus shouldn’t be counted as “bi” in surveys, and if they are, the numbers would therefore be inflated. That sounds like a perfectly reasonable argument. He may be right, he may be wrong. But there’s nothing bigoted about his argument.

    Wait, and you’re saying you don’t even subscribe to bisexuality existing but you’re upset that Dan is anti-bi and my post is anti-bi? I’m a tad confused, since it appears that I’m more pro-bi than you are :)

  34. Yes, not bad. Won’t get them any “gay” searches on google, but it’s accurate and will at least get “Tom Daley” searches.

  35. TheAngryFag says:

    Sorry if you felt I was attacking you, but the FB link had said “gay”. But this is what Dan Savage has been attacked for historically by bisexual activists. In “American Savage” he encouraged bisexuals to come out and be counted.

    I agree with you that “liking girls too” is not a universal definition of bisexuality. I myself subscribed to the theory of bisexuality that Dr. Ruth used to say that she did not really believe in true bisexuality because they eventually settle down with one sex and thus become “straight” or “gay”.

    It may well be he pulls a Mika and in a few years he does come out as gay. But I do feel that we need to let people define their own sexuality.

  36. Hue-Man says:

    I like the Pink News second attempt at a headline:Tom Daley: ‘I’m dating a guy and I couldn’t be happier’ (Their first attempt was apparently of the coming-out gay variety)

    Being a direct quote from the video, it summarizes the facts and entirely avoids the gay/bi discussion. (I found the video uncomfortable and suspect that the couple may have been caught by the paparazzi in the last 8 months – the UK tabloid press takes no prisoners.)

  37. cole3244 says:

    good for him because that takes guts, good to see his mom supporting him that’s very important.

  38. dcinsider says:

    I had no idea who this kid was when I read about it in the Post. So I Googled him, checked out his pictures, and thought “someone thought this kid was straight?”

    Total gaydar alarm. In any event, good for him.

  39. Yup, but anticipating the naysayers, I included a paragraph in the piece above noting just your point :)

  40. That was my first headline. Then worried whether everyone knows the term ‘come out,” and worried that no one will find the story in google while looking for gay or bi stories without some sexual orientation word in the title. Title-making is not an easy art.

  41. heimaey says:

    Exactly who cares if he’s gay or bi – what he did took courage. He’s a kid anyway he still has a lot to figure out about himself.

  42. Matt Rogers says:

    He didn’t actually say whether he’s gay or bi. I took his statement as describing bisexuality, but you saw it in terms of being gay. How about, “UK diver Tom Daley comes out”?

  43. Agree. And it’s quite impossible to express that in a headline that’s completely accurate :)

  44. Just a test comment :-)

  45. Bose says:

    Yeah, for me it’s worth remembering the ways people have projected their concept of my identity onto me, refusing to acknowledge my self-chosen one. I was not really gay, I had a “same-sex attraction problem.” I had to be bisexual given my functional marriage and lack of experience with guys when I came out. Daley is taking Frank Ocean’s path, declaring a first significant adult relationship, without needing to lock in what it means for his future.

  46. And it would appear some of us who are younger suffer from some bigotry for people who are older than twinks ;)

    “Liking girls too” is not the agreed upon definition of bisexuality – not that there is an agreed upon definition. He seemed to indicate that the girl thing wasn’t quite working out for him, but then when he met a guy, bam! That, my dear, is the textbook coming out of 90% of the gay men I know. The bisexuals I know like chocolate and vanilla – most of the gays I know thought vanilla was nice until they tried chocolate. (In my case, never liked chocolate (metaphorically speaking)). Again, not that definitions matter – who cares if he’s gay or bi.

    But let’s discuss this as honest, sincere, nice people and not play the Internet game of always having to declare that someone else is a very bad person before we disagree with them :)

  47. “UK diver Tom Daley comes out as something other than 100% heterosexual” didn’t seem to have a ring to it.

  48. Gary says:

    The headline misinterprets what he said (ironically the reason he made the video in the first place). He acknowledged being bi, but did not self-identify as being anything other than in a relationship with a guy, so it’s not really correct to say that he came out as gay. We wish him and his all the happiness.

  49. silas1898 says:

    Good for him. That was very sweet,

  50. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    i always thought he was gay and out, so this is a surprise to me.

  51. Henry Laureano says:

    Tom thanks for
    the honesty and forthrightness. You are right, it shouldn’t be a big deal and
    you have and deserve the right to be who you are and be safe in loving who you
    do. Thanks also for breaking down the stereo types. All the best to you in your career and

  52. TheAngryFag says:

    Actually he still likes girls too so he would be bi. I know those of us older have the prejudice because we were all trying to hold on to some shred of heterosexuality back in the day, but we need to get rid of that. Bi people do exist.

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