Queers rejoiced this week as we welcomed two new heavy hitters to our team. First, actress Maria Bello released an essay about her female partner to The New York Times, then Olympic diver Tom Daley kicked out from the straight position with a video on YouTube.
Basking in the post-party glow of her son’s father’s 50th birthday, Bello sat down to write her essay “Coming Out as a Modern Family.” She was feeling inspired following a conversation with her son, Jackson, who had asked her if she’s romantically involved with anyone. The result is an exploration of partnership and companionship in which Bello describes her current relationship with Clare, her long-time best friend.
“He looked at me for what seemed like an eternity and then broke into a huge, warm smile. ‘Mom, love is love, whatever you are,’ he said with wisdom beyond his years.”
It’s a touching, vulnerable piece in which Bello bares her past and her soul, disclosing wounds from heartbreaks and describing the complex support system she now calls family. Ultimately comparing it to the popular sitcom from which the essay’s name was derived, Belo serves up a message of family redefined, and it’s a message of hope.
Opting for the vernacular video approach, Daley’s viral outing is more like a message from an old friend.
“I didn’t want anyone to get my words twisted. I wanted to put an end to all the rumours and speculation and just tell you guys, because it’s what I want to do.”
After talking about the “roller coaster” his life has been, with the death of his father, bullying in high school and his 2012 Olympic medal for diving, Daley took the plunge (too obvious?).
“In an ideal world I wouldn’t be doing this video because it shouldn’t matter.” Daley explains that he hasn’t felt comfortable discussing his relationships, but last spring something changed. He says that he met someone who made him feel “safe” and “happy.” He pauses for a moment, cracking the tiniest grin. “And that someone is a guy.”
The two outings have inspired the predictable internet responses, from vitriol over the lack of Sochi references to the proclamation of a new era of tolerance. Indeed, there is something fresh about the lack of labelling and general nonchalance of their messages. Daley says it’s no “big deal,” and that may be true. Either way, Tom and Maria, we’re happy to have you.