By Being Himself, Tom Daley Sinks Westboro Baptist Church And All His Other Haters

tom-daleyTom Daley‘s announcement that he’s in a relationship with another man was greeted mostly with affirmations of support, but there were haters, of course. There was the usual round of homophobic tweets from people whose thought processes can be confined to 140 characters or less.

And the religious right had to live up to its reputation of parading its homophobia at any given opportunity. First and foremost, of course, is the Westboro Baptist Church. (Westboro says it’s going to picket Nelson Mandela’s funeral, so Daley is in impeccable company.)  The Fred Phelps Family Tabernacle tweeted “Olympic diver Tom Daley announces he’s a fag (bi-pervert) u all lap it up in wake of #GlasgowHelicopter,” somehow linking Daley with the crash of a helicopter into a Scottish pub.

Westboro was not alone, of course. Antigay commentator Robert Oscar Lopez complained that Daley was being exploited by a sexually obsessed community led by, among others, Queerty.

Toying with a nineteen-year-old’s sexual identity, when the person is still at a tender age, still not secure enough in himself to piece together what homosexuality means, or even know why he’s embarking on such a risky erotic journey — that’s just wrong. And until I see gay writers in Queerty and Thinkprogress acknowledging that this is a problem with the gay male community, I can’t deny that I feel uncomfortable with this, almost at the same level as my friend. A community led by people like Dustin Lance Black, a community that thinks this is normal and acceptable, is simply not a community that is prepared to have custody over defenseless pubescent boys.

We’ll let Freud sort out all the language there.

What matters most is that the haters can’t compete with Daley in terms of impact. Westboro has fewer than 18,000 Twitter followers (many of them probably just to get a daily dose of nuttiness). Lopez has 423. Daley has 2,587,000.

Daley captures the spirit of his generation — accepting, intimate with social media, with a huge following that recognize him as a warm and genuine individual. How can the hectoring religious right ever compete with that? It can’t, of course. Daley’s openness is far stronger than the haters’ fulminations. It may not be obvious, but Tom Daley is another example that the religious right has lost its war. The landscape has changed so much that it can no longer recognize the battlefield.

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  • 2eo

    Dear Huffington Post, thank you again for not censoring the usernames, the girl from the UK with a direct link is about to get a horrible surprise when she turns up to work on Monday.

  • Daniel-Reader

    Is the critic mental? Tender age of 19? At 19 you can be in the military, weapons trained, even serving on a sub or carrier with nuclear payloads. At 19 you can be in the police academy or training to be a firefighter. The critic of this young man sounds apparently confused about what age 19 is, or the critic is perhaps extremely immature himself or impaired.

  • jimbryant

    Well at least they think highly of Queerty!!!

    I like that Queerty doesn’t censor passionate commentary. Other gay sites do, unfortunately. I could name at least two popular gay websites, based in New York, which regularly censor commentary simply because it’s passionate commentary or it doesn’t suit the political bent of the gay blogger running it.

  • AuntieChrist

    Yes bot programs can be quite limiting when it comes to making comments. Kindness and decorum is a rare commodity within the gay sub-culture.

  • Deepdow

    Hey Robert, I know you’re reading this.

    Kill yourself immediately.

  • Horse Lips

    And these christianists wonder why young people are turning away from religion.

  • MikeE

    @Daniel-Reader: Don’t worry Daniel. If the “tender young” 19yr old were having sex with a 17yr old, he’d suddenly be a “child molester” preying on innocent “children”.

    The religious right’s idea of what exactly a “child” is varies with the weather… as in whether or not it serves their rant-du-jour.

  • Dakotahgeo

    West-boro/burro/donkey Baptist Clan. A really upstanding entity to have any opinion on anything? Poor Bastar… errrrr, Baptist wannabes.

  • KFischer

    Live your life wonderfully enough to piss off Westboro. :)

  • Sebi LeGault

    @Daniel-Reader: It is apparently only a critical age when you’re gay… Being straight and 19 is not an issue.

    The heteronormative society we live in really doesn’t consider any other sexuality as a normal part of their identity and as intrinsic to one’s being… It’s interesting that the process of sexual orientation and identity formation is an “exploration” when it’s used to describe the queer community, yet people like Lopez seem to forget that heterosexual folks also have a sexual identity formation.

  • the other Greg

    @Daniel-Reader: I agree but unfortunately, if you look at other comments threads on this subject, there are a lot of Queerty readers who think “19” is very very very young, sweet and “innocent” and all that [email protected]

  • Deepdow

    @the other Greg:

    Your comment is filled with hyperbole hence irrelevant.

  • the other Greg

    @Deepdow: Really? Look at any of the several (too many perhaps) Queerty comment threads re: Tom Daley. Otherwise rational GAY people are squawking like DLB was molesting a 16 year old.

  • Deepdow

    @the other Greg:

    There you go again.

  • the other Greg

    @Deepdow: I just hope it brings certain gay people back to their senses, when they realize they are agreeing with Westboro Baptist Church about ANYTHING!

  • jwtraveler

    Why bother to respond to all that nonsense? You’re not going to change their minds. Ignore them. As long as Tom Daley keeps that beautiful, sweet smile on his face, he and we have won. Let’s leave it at that.

  • KittyLitter

    DLB is TOO OLD FOR YOU! Get a grip.

  • ZaneStuart

    Until this article I didn’t know who Robert Oscar Lopez is(Yes, I’m a bad homo, I don’t keep tabs on all the haters). A quick 10 minute search revealed he has some serious issues that being married to a woman is not going to cure.
    Seems it’s always ends up being the loudest haters who are the most perverse.

  • Stache1

    @ZaneStuart: She’s the one with the Mother (now deceased) who she blames for making her gay, fucked up or whatever because she was a Lesbian. Never mind the fact that she came out a Lesbian when ROL was already an adult. However, hate groups finally found someone that hates their gay parent and made ROL a star and he loves it.

  • Stache1

    @Deepdow: She will read this. I’ve talked to her before on other blogs. She loves the attention.

  • marc sfe

    I have two friends, in southern California, they are 94 and 75 years old; a gay couple; married when it was legal in 2008. They have been together 55 years. Anyone doing the math will see there is a 19 year age difference, the same as the two men mentioned in this article. “Nuf said.

  • Marg

    I hope whoever wrote this and said “And the religious right had to live up to its reputation of parading its homophobia at any given opportunity. First and foremost, of course, is the Westboro Baptist Church.” is either confused or badly educated. Th Westboro Clan is all Democrats. Check it out on any wiki or Bio site. Fred Phelps ran for Gov of Kansas twice as what he is and always has been! A Democratic Candidate!

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Marg: Ah yessssss… there WAS a time when Pherddy Phelps was not ony a Democrat, ran for political office twice, and WAS a lawyer. That was BEFORE people started catching on to this whizband…errr, whizbang! In short order, he was kicked OUT of the Democratic Party, stripped of his attorney’s license and was tossed head-first out of every Baptist Convention possible (I believe there are about 57+- Baptist Conventions/denominations in existence…NONE of them wanted him in their ranks). So… no more Democrat, no more lawyer, no more Baptist! I don’t know where the hell you live, but you sho ain’t from Kansas!

  • DonW

    @Marg: I didn’t see the word “Republican” anywhere in the article. If you’re reading “religious right” as a political term that is a synonym for GOP, well, that’s a grave that the whole sorry lot of them have dug for themselves.

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  • bolloxok

    @KFischer: This is my quote of the day!!

  • mikeysexc

    I like how the person talks about how 19 year olds cannot make these decisions and understand what it is they are deciding… yet these same people have there kids baptized at 3 years old when the kids arent old enough to contemplate god or understand the shit in general.

    hypocritical as always

  • cosettaxfc735

    til I looked at the receipt that said $9462, I didn’t believe …that…my mother in law woz like realey bringing home money in their spare time from there labtop.. there neighbor haz done this less than a year and just now cleard the morgage on their house and bought a brand new Land Rover Range Rover. visit here…… http://www.Tec202.com

  • Gans

    @MikeE: Actually the Age of Consent has been equalised to 16 with regards to any sexuality in the UK.

  • Gans

    @KittyLitter: There is no issue about their age difference. They are both consenting adult men, and Tom is happy. Age-ism is a serious issue that must be addressed, especially in America. We do not see this as an issue. We are proud of Tom, and if Tom and Dustin are happy, in love, and there is no abuse in the relationship what is the issue? Jealousy?

    Unless you know Tom and/or Dustin personally your judgement is unnecessary. Aside from support for the next Olympic Gold Medalist 10 metre Diver in the upcoming Games in Rio, you should take care of yourself, and let these men live their life together.

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