Something has been building up inside me recently and it came to a head this week. The moment that Tom Daley made the revelation that he is in a relationship with another man I could foresee that the press and gossips would go into overdrive.
That’s exactly what has happened and it doesn’t half bug me.
Tom Daley coming out has been splashed over the front pages of trash rag tabloids this week and was even breaking news on the BBC and Sky news channels. I don’t see why as it is not actually news. It’s simply gossip. Now of course I applaud Tom for having the courage to come out in his own time and on his own terms. Although sad that he had to reveal his relationship status at all, there’s no doubt that his words will help other young people who are thinking about coming out. But again I come back to the reason why it is headline news. With so much other stuff going on in the world that should be featured on the news, why was a 19 year old lad revealing he is in a relationship with another man the headline story?
The sad fact is that gossip sells. It sells papers to those who are taken in by tabloid trash and it also keeps people watching television shows. Personally, I couldn’t care less about who Tom Daley is dating. I’m more concerned about the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines, the people injured in the Glasgow helicopter crash, the many homeless people facing cold, lonely nights in the lead up to Christmas, and important global issues such as climate change.
In the wake of Tom Daley’s ‘news’ I was asked to take part in a BBC radio discussion about it. Whenever something gay is in the news the BBC roll me out to talk about it. I agreed because I thought it would be a great opportunity to tell thousands of people that it is not a newsworthy story and we should be more concerned about other things. Also taking part in the discussion was a Baptist minister who agreed that it is not newsworthy. However, his reason for that view is because he believes a relationship should be between one man and one woman. I began to switch off when he started talking about the Bible and why we should all follow its teachings. Normally I’d challenge such opinions but on this occasion decided to ignore the bigot and focus on my message. Luckily I managed to convey that Tom Daley’s relationship status should not be on the news, but I felt that perhaps it was falling on some deaf ears.
As I put my face in the palms of my hands we were then fed the revelation that Tom is apparently dating someone who is twenty years older than himself. This is something else I could not care less about and it baffles me why anyone else would be interested. The shock, some genuine and some feigned, is absurd and I do not know what all the fuss is about. I’m in a relationship with someone who is twenty five years older than me. All I can say is don’t judge and don’t knock it until you have tried. This is such a non-story and I wish that people cared as much about genuine news as they do about this tittle tattle.
Something else that has bugged me in recent weeks is the James Arthur bashing. Everyone seems to be jumping on that bandwagon, but it’s something I refuse to be a part of. While I don’t condone James calling someone a “f**king queer”, I do accept that we all make mistakes. I don’t believe that James Arthur is a homophobe. A gobby fool, maybe, but he’s no homophobe. I just think that he did not think about what he was saying; he engaged his mouth before his brain. What has followed since then has been nothing short of a witch hunt. Comments in the media and on sites such as Twitter and Facebook have been ridiculous. As far as I am concerned James Arthur has apologised and that should be accepted.
It’s sad when people jump on bandwagons, sometimes without actually analysing all of the facts. It’s all too easy to do, but there are bigger things that we should be concerned about.
Instead of being taken in by gossip and jumping on bandwagons because it’s the in thing to do, we should be highlighting real news and causes. The totally abhorrent situation in Russia is something we must continue to highlight and it needs to be shown in the media more. Instead of writing about Tom Daley they should be bringing attention to the human rights struggles going on in the world at the moment.
An example is when Madonna took to the stage in a Scout’s uniform to protest against gay people being banned from being in the Scouts, the media twisted the story to make it about Madonna looking ridiculous instead of highlighting the reason why she dressed like that. It’s something that I find incredibly frustrating and it needs to change.
How are we going to make real progress and bring about huge social changes if we continue to be taken in by gossip and bandwagons? It’s clear that the media need to change, but actually, we as a society need to as well.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.