All that tolerance and happiness for him couldn't last could it? Cue the homophobic subtext: gays are predatory cradle-snatchers who lead helpless young men "astray" etc. Never mind the fact that Tom is clearly an exceptionally intelligent, self-possessed guy who has dealt with the extreme media pressure he's been under since he was 14 in a phenomenal way. Never mind that he's managed to put out an extraordinary 5 minute unscripted video about his feelings and sexuality with a level of maturity and eloquence that many of us never achieve. No, he has to be some kind of victim in all this.
Whilst this picture was circulating (since identified in all likelihood as a fan) it was all "oooh, ahhh, aren't they cute?" / "aww look at them: pocket sizes gays" but that seems to be ending abruptly. No, we can't deal with an age difference on top of his being gay. Heaven forbid that our tolerance be stretched that far. If the pair don't look like they could doe-eyed characters in a Disney cartoon, start the judgement.
|Disney Gays: yeah, they're acceptable|
Last night I pointed out that his grandparents, whilst broadly supportive, told the Daily Mail that they felt Tom was "too young for this kind of decision". It's great they said they will always be there for him: wonderful in fact. I asked, though, whether his announcing that he had a steady girlfriend that would have resulted in the same reaction that's he's too young for this "decision". What decision, exactly, in any case? Tom's said he still fancies girls. The decision was to go public on his relationship, which he has every right to. Straight people get engaged and married at 19, routinely. You might think that too young, but would you as a family member announce it to the Daily Fail of all people? To me, it just underlines the different standards that are still applied to young LGBT people. Straight people can decide they're old enough for relationships, but there's still a view that you're doing something wrong if you're involved with the same sex, until you reach some undefined magical age. Don't just blame it on the generational gap: my 80 year old Lutheran grandmother simply said "It's genetic, there's nothing wrong with that. I read it in a magazine" when I came out.
This exact same "it's not quite right" subtext is present in the discussion of his (alleged) boyfriend's age. A 39 year old Hollywood male legend dating a 19 year old girl might get the odd comment, but really we can all reel off the dozens of heterosexual relationships that fit this mould and still get our approbation. It's a handy way for people to let out their disapproval of the situation to comment on the age difference rather than to be overtly homophobic, I guess. People are catching on slowly that the latter really isn't that on in 2013.
And be clear, if Dustin is Tom's boyfriend, he is going out with an absolute legend. Here is an excerpt from his acceptance speech at the Oscars for his movie "Milk":
It's not just straights doing it. I'm sure DLB will love to read the following tweet and the many other personally abusive ones you've put out this morning, given the media scrutiny he's under of this story breaking at the moment (whether it's true or not).
So, *LGBT solidarity to you* "Jane" of Queerights.
Worse, perhaps, than the blind ignorance about the age gap are the snarky gays who are attacking Dustin for not being "cute enough". Oh GAYS.. are we really going to go there? Not had enough judgement in your life that you need to ply it on to others? Your verdict about his haircut, his age, his face really aren't that important. What matters is that someone has come out and given an incredible role model to young LGBT kids around the world. Whether the alleged boyfriend is cute or not matters to only one person. And that's Tom. What's more, for what it's worth, look at those pecs, you dozy twits :P
|"Not cute enough": Gays, Everywhere|
Tom is hugely in the public eye at the moment. He must be acutely sensitive to negative comments. Any relationship when you're 19 is hard work. God, any relationship at any age is hard work, let's face it. If Tom were going out with the "cute, ordinary boy" in the shopping centre, the difficulty for the pair of them to have any sort of a normal existence would be huge. If he is with DLB as the reports suggest, he has someone who is used to media attention, the way the celebrity world works, and all of that pressure. He is, by all accounts, an exceptional man.
If the story is true, I wish them both the very, very best. Tom has done a remarkable thing. He's a remarkable guy. And he deserves remarkable happiness. I hope whoever he is with will provide that and people will stop with the snarking.