Tom Daley and a disgruntled Herald reader – my response to homophobic letter

Today, Plymouth’s local newspaper, The Herald, printed a homophobic letter from a Mr John J Jones in which he announces he will no longer be buying the newspaper because of it’s coverage of Tom Daley’s “confession” regarding his sexuality. He goes on to deem homosexuality and homosexual relationships “disgusting”, “perverted” and “abhorrent”.

According to reporters at The Herald, responses have been flooding in from readers, and it was one letter which I couldn’t let go without having my say, so below is my (somewhat hastily written) response to Mr Jones’ pleasant letter:

“In response to John J Jones’ letter (“Appalled by articles on diver Tom Daley”), I have to say I am horrified, yet somehow not surprised, that close-minded and homophobic views like those expressed by Mr Jones still exist in 2013. As a bisexual woman myself, I know how difficult it is to come out and be open and proud about your sexuality. Indeed, if you would have told me three years ago that I would be writing a letter to my local newspaper which included reference to my sexuality, I would have thought you were joking. It was reading your letter which reminded me exactly why I was so ashamed of my sexuality; people who believe they have a right to judge me by who I fall in love with – something I have as much control over as you do, Mr Jones.

It takes an immense amount of courage to discuss your sexuality without doing so on the national stage, and I think what Tom Daley did was incredibly brave and dignified, and he should be applauded not only for opening up discussion surrounding sexuality, but for giving strength to other young men and women who may be struggling to come to terms with their sexuality. In reference to my “disgusting lifestyle”, Mr Jones, I believe my lifestyle is probably quite similar to yours. I get up in the morning the same as you, I eat the same as you, I read The Herald the same as you. Who I fall in love with has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on my worth or ability as a human being, in the same way that who Tom Daley falls in love with does not affect his ability as an incredible athlete. Indeed, it’s sad that with so much poverty, homelessness and hunger in the world, you choose to direct your anger towards relationships between two people who want to be together, rather than work to eliminate the real injustices which people across the world face. 

I don’t know why you have the views that you do, Mr Jones. I don’t know why you think it is fair to call me, or members of our gay community, “abhorrent”, when in my opinion, the only abhorrent thing is the fact that you pigeon-hole me as “perverted” for being attracted to, or having feelings for, another woman rather than a man. It goes without saying that those views are extremely offensive to the LGBT community, and whilst I hope you delay your boycott of The Herald for long enough to read this letter, I must admit I am somewhat relieved that I will no longer have to read such opinions in my local newspaper.

I look forward to the day when coming out doesn’t warrant wall-to-wall coverage, and people can live their lives without fear of persecution, violence or even death as a result of homophobia. But until then, well done, Tom Daley, for having the courage to stand up and be proud of who you are – although since you’ve said you still fancy girls, I won’t tell my mother to put her hat away just yet…

Councillor Kate Taylor
Labour, Devonport ward”

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8 thoughts on “Tom Daley and a disgruntled Herald reader – my response to homophobic letter

  1. Well said. excellent. Unfortunately our country is full of uneducated morons – much like the mid-west of America.

  2. Pingback: Some Local Voices: Austerity, Homophobia, and Britain’s Waning Global Presence - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money

  3. good for you tom people like john j jones should get reported to the police for out right homophobic comments also shame on the news paper for putting his views to press. this day and age there is no place for such back ward views john j jones stop living in the 50s and 60s. try living in the real world and his letter should be passed on to the police…

  4. There are uneducated and for that matter educated morons everywhere, in every place, every social class, and they come in all sizes, colours and religions too!!! If we simply respected people and accepted them as fellow human beings, and hoped for them to simply respect us in return, there would be far less trouble in the world. But these things stir up division and resentment so they will never go away. Human societies thrive on division and injustice everywhere. If it’s not racism, it’s class like in England, if it’s not virulent sexism then its homophobia, and of course in some countries it’s all, and many more, of the above. The prejudice, whatever it may be, boils down to one person thinking they are superior to someone else. And that notion allows people to hate others, exploit others, kill others, control others, abuse others in many and varied ways and to have a clear conscience at the end of it all. Trying to change the prejudices out in the world is one thing; perhaps it’s better to challenge the prejudices you have first before condemning someone else for theirs. And we all have them folks. Changing the world is one thing, changing yourself is something else.

  5. Pingback: Pride in Plymouth Website and Blog | What a Week – Tom Daley, The Big Read, a Letter and an Amazing International Response

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