Dear Gay People,
Not sure if you’ve heard, but openly gay Olympic diver Tom Daley’s nudes were leaked recently.
Within hours, images of his perky bottom went viral online. And like many others, I too had his salacious pictures downloaded onto my phone.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good celebrity nude scandal leak when it happens – in that sense, Perez Hilton is truly my best friend. But with recent events, I think it’s time for a mindset change.
Media reports claim that these pictures of the 23-year-old, who is gay and married to film producer Dustin Lance Black, were taken when Daley was having an alleged secret affair, while “on break” with his fiance-now-husband Black. These nudes, were taken pre-marriage, and not taken recently.
Daley has not responded or provided comments on this matter, these reports claim, other than supposedly having his lawyers crack down on portals that shared these private pictures of his.
But for some of my LGBT friends, these pictures were already saved on their phones. And thanks to them, these shots were now saved in my gallery too.
Many of them – most of them gay males – shared these pictures with me as soon as they were able to get their hands on them, happy that the privacy of one of the world’s most athletic and well toned bodies, were now for the public world to see. There were calls for celebration, drinks, and rereads of erotic fanfiction with “proper” visuals now in mind.
One even decided to create a layout of these pictures into a screensaver on his phone, although he said it rather sarcastically. For his sake, I hope he was joking.
For additional context, Daley’s charm and wit, along with his baby voice, are a constant source of happiness for most of my friends. His interview sessions are cute, his Instagram captions candid, and his husband tag videos on YouTube, simply adorable.
Everyone loves him, you see.
Interestingly, however, these were the same group of people who were vocal in calling out disgraced Hollywood moghul Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey for both mens’ alleged abuse of power and position to manipulate those under their wing or close to them.
Now, granted, Daley wasn’t sexually assaulted, to the extent that which the likes of Kate Beckinsale, Gwyneth Paltrow, Daryl Hannah, or Annabelle Scirorra had faced at the hands of the disgraced Weinstein – who has vehemently denied all such allegations.
And neither was he harassed in clubs or production houses – allegations of which Spacy has also denied.
Nor was Daley’s body or good looks used by others with the premise of more jobs or higher pay, and neither was he was taken under the wing of a bully and a rapist.
In fact, media reports also suggest that perhaps these were shared by Daley’s former partner mentioned in the affair, out of vengeance, maybe.
But what makes me connect this case and with every other sexual harassment case is because with all the aforementioned people listed, all of my friends were quick to denounce support for Weinstein, and take up a case against him (as if he was there in the moment with us).
Many could sympathize with these women, and all expressed horror and shock when stories of their allegations made rounds on social media, and came to their attention. But yet these were the same group of people who shared Daley’s nudes like it was nothing.
I mean, aren’t they just as bad as Weinstein and Spacey?
So what is the difference when a male model has his nudes leaked, and when we save these nudes on our phones instead? Does it matter if he is gay? Or does it only matter if he is a woman?
Is it perfectly alright to continue to vocally proclaim support against one group of people whose privacy has been violated, but joyously hold hands and cheer when another’s intimate moments are leaked – just because he is gay and “cute”?
How do we justify this drawing of lines of sorts between what is acceptable and what isn’t?
Daley’s experiences and mistakes are no doubt similar with his heterosexual counterparts – and deserves our sympathy and support too.
For this group of conscious Twitters and feminist friends of mine, Daley’s nudes are shared and kept, and in doing so raises a very important question: in an era post-Harvey Weinstein, and in a time where sexual harassment of women and men will no longer be tolerated:
Are gay men allowed to share Tom Daley’s nudes?
And for all of us – me included – we need to actively consider these actions if we are truly all for The Time’s Up movement and helping change the world for the better.
And that starts with us. Deleting those nudes from our phones would be a good start.
I still haven’t deleted Daley’s nudes from my phone, however. I guess I’m just as bad as my friends. Perhaps I’ll delete them tonight. Or perhaps I won’t. I mean, they are pretty hot.
Written by Vinodh Pillai
A version of this article first appeared on Metrosource US.
Note: Edits to parts of the submission not affecting the primary message have been made.
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