Today, Peter Tatchell asks young gay athletes to "come out", claiming that it helps other young people come to terms with their sexuality, and others to accept them if they see that they have something in common with their idols.
Robbie Rogers, Tom Daley et all have one thing in common. They live and work in environments where they are protected, where they have less of a chance of getting attacked or bullied in everyday life--save in the press and on social networks, which they are at liberty to ignore.
It's wrong, I know. There should be tolerance. And I'll say it again, the only good homophobe is one who is pushing up daisies or reposing within an urn. There are some very nasty people out there, people who will never change and who one cannot educate because they are rotten through to the core.
Lunatics who have attacked me over the past few years--every single one of these a repulsive homophobe with a great deal to hide--have always speculated about my sexuality. They are too brainless to argue sensibly about the various issues I've been involved with, so they aim for something they think might offend me. It doesn't, but they don't like me picking up on their sore points and giving them a taste of their own medicine. Long may they not live. I never pick on anyone unless they've picked on me first, and I bear grudges. I call them in, even after years of silence.
But, Peter, this is why you are basically wrong when asking for people to come out, and why it is inappropriate for most.
Imagine a young black teenager at a rough-and-tough school in Brixton, who is already suffering prejudice for being "different". Imagine what happens when he tells everyone he is gay.
Imagine teenagers at other schools up and down the country, queuing up to be treated at casualty departments because, rather than choose common sense and apply caution, they say, "It's all right for Tom. I thought it would be all right for me."
It doesn't work.