Tom Daley, Maria Bello and Bob Harper all announced to the world that they are gay or in same-sex relationships this past week. The overwhelming reaction? A collective shrug.
And that’s progress, gay activists say.
In fact, the Olympian, the actress and the celebrity fitness trainer are making bigger waves for the way they came out, and their struggles to do so, than for their sexual orientation.
“When people come out today, there’s no scandal, no controversy,” Rich Ferraro, spokesman for GLAAD told the Los Angeles Times.
It’s a far cry from the notorious reaction that greeted Ellen DeGeneres in 1997, when she announced “Yep, I’m Gay” on the cover of Time magazine, he recalled. “There was much fanfare and controversy,” Ferraro said. “Advertisers dropped ads from her show.”
Daley, the British superstar diver and bronze Olympic medalist took to YouTube today to say that he had dated girls in the past but had never really had a serious relationship until this year, when he met someone. “My life changed, massively ... and, well, that someone is a guy.” (The video is worth watching, even though it’s longer than five minutes, as it captures just how difficult the announcement must have been. And he is quick to point out that he still “fancies” girls.)
Although there are some rude comments posted on Daley’s YouTube page, the overall response to his declaration that he is bisexual is along the lines of this comment: “Congrats for taking a step forward.”
One day earlier, Bello took to the pages of the New York Times to write an article headlined “Coming Out As a Modern Family,” revealing the conversation she had with her son that led her to reveal her relationship with another woman, Clare. (Time magazine has an insightful piece about how the media is wrongly rushing to label Bello as gay or lesbian, when she seems inclined to label herself a “whatever.”)
And just a few days before that, Harper revealed his sexual orientation on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” as a way to help a competitor who had been unable to tell his parents, especially his father, that he was gay.
It is indeed a sign of the time that the media seem to be ready to move on to a new preoccupation: Who are Bob and Tom each dating?