Tom Daley Says Being a Gay Dad Means Having to Prove Himself

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday May 15, 2022
Originally published on May 10, 2022

Tom Daley and his family
Tom Daley and his family  (Source:Tom Daley/Instagram)

Olympic judges awarded British diving champ Tom Daley a gold medal, but the out champ says that being a gay dad brings the real judgement, making him feel a need to prove himself constantly, BANG Showbiz reported.

"We were desperate to be parents just like everybody else," the celebrity news site quoted Daley as saying. But now that he and husband Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black have achieved that dream, the couple faces stereotyping from others who don't seem to understand that same-sex parents can be just as good at caring for their children as mixed-gender couples can be.

"...you do always feel a bit judged when you're out in public because you want to be showing that you're doing the best you possibly can," Daley said, "and I think it can be weird sometimes for people to see two dads and a baby, and so we always felt like we had to be the best parents that we could ever be and do all of the right things."

Daley's comments echo what he said in his memoir "Coming Up for Air," which was published last year.

As previously reported at EDGE, Daley recounted in the book how being a gay father involves additional legal and financial burdens, and attracts heightened "judgment" and unwanted parenting advice.

Daley and Black became parents via surrogacy three years ago, but, he shared in the memoir, strangers sometimes seem to think they are more in need of unsolicited advice than a heterosexual couple would be. In one of the book's anecdotes, Daley recalls a stranger offering to change their son's diaper.

"As gay parents and gay dads," Daley wrote, "I sometimes feel like we are held to a higher level of judgment."

From the start of his relationship with Black, the 27-year-old wanted to become a father. As EDGE reported last month, Daley spoke to that wish in an interview with Radio Times, revealing how "Back in 2013 we'd named our children, which seems to break every one of the dating rules!"

Daley went on to say that his relationship with son Robbie is like the one he had with his own late father, who the child is named after.

"Whether I was doing well or not, my parents were always there for me," Daley said. "It's just about being there to support Robbie on the good days, the bad days and everything in between."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.