I think that the responsibilities that come with celebrities coming out are two-fold. I think that to an extent it is important to have role models in the media for queer people to look up to, however, I would never want someone to come out who wasn’t ready. The part of responsibility I’d like to focus on though is for society in general. I think that in the case of Tom Daley who “came out” today, it’s the responsibility of the public to accept things as they are and not place people into categories unnecessarily. It seems unfair that though Tom Daley said that he has always been attracted to women and is happy dating a man now, that people have found it okay to throw the gay or bisexual label on him, especially the former more so than the latter. In “Assimilating the Queers”, Wan-Hsiu Sunny Tsai writes “Male bisexuality signifies confusion and a denial phase for gay men—ultimately posing a threat to patriarchy and heteronormativity.” Therefore, it makes sense that gay men especially would be quick to erase the possibility of Tom Daley’s bisexual identity. It’s also interesting how once he “came out” many people were quick to forget about him as a person and more as an object of desire (ie. gay men rejoicing over having another option and straight women mourning their “loss”.) Ultimately, the responsibility of society is to start accepting things as they are. If a man says he’s dating a man and that he’s happy, then leave it at that. There’s no need to unnecessarily categorize people who don’t want to be categorized.
Tsai, W. S. (2010) Assimilating the queers: Representations of lesbians, gay men, bisexual, and transgender people in mainstream advertising. Advertising & Society Review, 11(1).