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Tom Daley Dives Into His Queer Fact For ‘Coming Up For Air’ Memoir

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Tom Daley Dives Into His Queer Fact For ‘Coming Up For Air’ Memoir


Practically one yr after profitable an Olympic gold medal, Tom Daley has waded into the literary world ― and, for the primary time, he’s able to publicly acknowledge the vulnerabilities that lie beneath his record-smashing athletic prowess.

The 28-year-old British diver lays his feelings naked in a new book, “Coming Up for Air: What I Realized From Sport, Fame and Fatherhood.” Launched within the U.S. final month, the ebook eschews the standard memoir format. As an alternative, it’s a set of 11 particular person essays that delve into the triumphs and tribulations he’s skilled since being catapulted into the worldwide highlight. Every essay has a novel title — “Perseverance,” “Acceptance” and “Confidence,” amongst others — that refers to a private attribute he says he’s developed in his years as a aggressive athlete.

“I feel it’s vital, should you’re a visual queer individual, to attempt to assist different folks and never simply sit together with your privilege,” Daley informed HuffPost. “As quickly as you begin beating your self up about making errors, you begin to fear about making them within the first place. You cease taking dangers and rising as an individual.”

Followers will likely be thrilled to know that “Coming Up for Air” particulars Daley’s Olympic gold medal win within the males’s synchronized 10-meter platform on the Tokyo Olympics final yr.

However he additionally opens up about grief, physique picture, household and his early fears when it got here to embracing his fact as a homosexual man. He shares anecdotes from his marriage to Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, referred to easily as “Lance” all through the textual content. The 2 males are fathers to a 3-year-old son, Robbie.

"I think it’s important, if you’re a visible queer person, to try and help other people and not just sit with your privilege," Daley said.
“I feel it’s vital, should you’re a visual queer individual, to attempt to assist different folks and never simply sit together with your privilege,” Daley stated.

Laurel Golio for HuffPost

HuffPost caught up with Daley whereas he was visiting New York as a part of his “Coming Up for Air” ebook tour final month. Right here’s what he needed to say concerning the ebook, being an LGBTQ rights advocate and, in fact, his love of knitting.

In contrast to most memoirs, the tales in “Coming Up for Air” aren’t informed in chronological order. Why did you go for that strategy?

Being an Olympian is one factor, however how can I take what I’ve discovered as an athlete and relate it to on a regular basis life? As a result of there are many parallels. It’s similar to the targets you might need at college, the stresses that you just might need at a job — the teamwork and crew efforts. So I wished to attempt to make it as simply digestible as doable, to have one thing that [readers] may have the ability to relate to.

You gained a gold medal on the Summer season Olympics in Tokyo final yr. What was that second like?

It was extremely overwhelming as a result of I’ve labored for 20 years to get there. It nonetheless appears very surreal that it even occurred, to be sincere. It’s the one factor that’s saved me going for therefore lengthy, the considered profitable an Olympic gold medal. As I clarify within the ebook, the subsequent day was the primary day that I awakened with an actual sense of peace. It was an actual sense of: “You recognize what? We’ve completed it.”

Of his decision to come out as gay in a 2013 YouTube video, Daley said: "It was so freeing and had such an impact on my performance in a positive way that I wish I’d done it earlier."<br><br>
Of his choice to come back out as homosexual in a 2013 YouTube video, Daley stated: “It was so liberating and had such an influence on my efficiency in a constructive approach that I want I’d completed it earlier.”

Laurel Golio for HuffPost

You contact on the occasions that lead as much as your choice to come back out in a 2013 YouTube video. For those who had been to do it another time, would you modify something about that course of?

It was so liberating and had such an influence on my efficiency in a constructive approach that I want I’d completed it earlier. Again then, I used to be so scared. I used to be so apprehensive about shedding sponsors. My dad had died a few years earlier than that, and I wished to nonetheless have the ability to assist my household. When individuals are telling you that you just may lose sponsors, in fact it’s going to scare you into staying within the closet for longer than you’d wish to.

Within the ebook, you point out that you just and Lance had been on the same skilled trajectories — he’d gained an Oscar for 2008’s “Milk,” you gained a bronze medal within the 2012 Summer season Olympics — once you started courting. How would you describe your relationship now?

I’d positively say we’re each dreamers. We dare to dream, and we dare to dream massive. If I say: “I actually wish to do that,” he may say: “Why cease there? Dream greater. Go greater. Why not?” If we each wish to do one thing, we’re like: “You recognize what? We’re going to work arduous and make it occur.” We each know what it takes to get to the highest degree in what we do. I do know we’re very lucky, however we prefer to work arduous and actually simply give every part our greatest.

As a queer individual, do you ever want that your private milestones — getting married, having a baby — weren’t scrutinized as in the event that they had been political statements?

I really feel like all minorities, not directly … something we do is not directly seen as being political. On the finish of the day, all I do know is that I like Lance and I wished to marry him, and we felt actually strongly about having a household. And now, we’ve our son that we love dearly. It might sound political to some folks, nevertheless it all comes from a spot of affection.

[Marriage and fatherhood have] modified the way in which I prioritize issues. Simply with the ability to go to the Olympics and know that no matter what occurs, my household will love me and assist me, takes plenty of the stress off and permits me to really take pleasure in it. And after I take pleasure in what I’m doing, I get the very best outcomes.

If Daley has his way, a Fashion Week show focused exclusively on his knitwear could be in his future.
If Daley has his approach, a Style Week present targeted solely on his knitwear may very well be in his future.

Laurel Golio for HuffPost

What do you say to younger LGBTQ individuals who let you know that they give the impression of being to you as a task mannequin?

It’s fairly overwhelming and I by no means actually know what to say. After I got here out, that was by no means my pondering. It was extra like: “I simply can’t take care of this anymore. I would like to simply say what I’m pondering and the way I’m feeling.” To assume that individuals might need watched my video after which felt secure and in a position to have conversations with their dad and mom or buddies … I by no means thought it could ever have that influence.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about your knitting, and your latest foray into knitwear design together with your Made With Love brand. Had been you shocked by the eye it acquired?

My coach stated I wanted to seek out one thing the place I may sit down, relaxation and get better, as a result of I’m at all times somebody who’s on the go. Then Lance stated: “Individuals on movie units knit sweaters. Why don’t you give it go?”

My persona simply dove straight in. I didn’t wish to do it half-assed. I used to be like: “I’m going to do that, and actually learn to do it.” I didn’t know anybody was going to be occupied with my knitting. However now, with the ability to move on my ardour for knitting to different folks via Made With Love … if anyone had informed me 5 years in the past that I’d be an Olympic champion and doing knitwear design … it simply appears so surreal.

What are you dreaming about now, and what do you hope to attain in, say, the subsequent 5 to 10 years?

I’d like to be the primary anchor of the Olympics broadcast for the BBC, or NBC if I’m within the U.S. I’d like to do a Style Week present with knitwear. I’d like to develop our household as nicely.

This interview has been evenly edited and condensed.





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