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“Grandma Rose and Grandad Dink had been hugely supportive of me growing up. They used to live a few doors up the road from our first house in Derriford (Plymouth) and had remained close ever since, and I know my sporting success brought them a huge sense of pride. Deep down, I thought they would be fine but my heart was hammering as I drove down the road and knocked on their door. As we started chatting about everyday stuff while they made us a drink, I just couldn’t bear to bring it up. Eventually, I took a deep breath and summoned up the courage to speak. Originally, I had told them that the reason for Lance being in Plymouth was that he was interested in filming a documentary about me. It seemed like a good cover story. ’You know Lance, he’s great, isn’t he?’ I started. ’Yes, Lance, he’s a nice young man,’ Grandma Rose replied. ‘Well, basically, Lance and I are in a relationship,’ I said. ’Of course you are in a relationship. You’re doing a documentary together,’ she said. ’Er, no, not that kind of relationship. We’re in a relationship with just the two of us.’ I just couldn’t bear to say the words ‘he’s my boyfriend’, or to be even more clear, ‘I’m gay’. ‘Of course, you are.’ She wasn’t quite catching on. I caught sight of Grandad in the corner, who was starting to cry. Grandad was not happy with it, and while Grandma was trying to be OK, she just wasn’t. ‘Come on, Tom. Do you think that is even natural?! What would your dad think?,’ Grandad said. I just felt so sad that they couldn’t accept it. Our relationship after that became quite strained. I now look back and I understand that their initial reaction came from a place of just not understanding about different sexualities, or knowing anyone else who was openly gay. But it goes without saying that I was also very hurt. It also made me fear the reaction of the wider public. If my grandparents felt it hard to hear, what would other people say?”–Olympic diver Tom Daley, recalling his difficulty coming out about his relationship with now-husband Dustin Lance Black to his grandparents. Daley shared the story in his new memoir Air: What I Learned from Sport, Fame and Fatherhood and elaborates on how his grandparents’ stunned reaction made him wary of coming out to anyone else.

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