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”