Friday, April 4, 2014

On Labels, Preference, and Choice

Tom Daley recently came out as gay, confirming he’s not bi-sexual and apparently confusing the hell out of everyone.

Daley announced that he began dating a man and that he “still fancied girls,” but never labeled himself. Similarly, two years ago Frank Ocean wrote about an unrequited love affair with a man at 19, but, again, strayed from using a label-maker.

And yet, the media gave them labels anyway. Ocean was initially reported as coming out as bi-sexual. Wrong. Same with Daley: also incorrect. Both men simply said they’d had feelings for other men, no labels, end of story.

I don’t know why we’re so obsessed with labels, making sure we can classify someone to feel better about ourselves. Maybe we don’t like the ambiguity, or maybe it forces us to question ourselves  which scares the shit out of us.

The media is obsessed with classifying people, despite sexual orientation moving towards a label-less, sometimes description-less phenomenon. Daley said he fell in love with JUSTICE Black upon first sight, and that’s what prompted him to record a video saying so. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Loving someone and being able to express it just because you fucking want to? I have no doubt he had a difficult time coming out publically, but he seems happier because of it. Most people do.

Daley’s confirmed he’s a gay man, and everyone’s applauding. But the media really needs to watch it and start fact checking. Sexual preference is a personal choice, not always a public matter. And when it is a public matter, it’s still rooted in personal choice. We need to stop blaming celebrities for confusing us about what they want sexually. When someone says they love someone of the same sex, that’s all we really need to understand.

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