As many of you will know, British Olympic diver Tom Daley came out early this morning via a vlog on his YouTube channel.
Now, I rarely get 'political' but on this occasion I want to highlight what a monumental event and turning point his coming out is.
I am aware that things are different in other countries, but here in the UK we have loads of openly gay performers and have had several 'out' sports personalities, but they're pretty much only recognised within their particular areas of sport. With Tom, we have a young sportsman at the pinnacle of his career with about 2.5million Twitter followers worldwide and armies of teenage girls watching his every move.
Instead of taking what some would see as the 'safe' road and keeping quiet, he chose to be honest with his fans and followers by admitting that he's in a relationship with a guy. He was careful not to use any labels and just told it like it is. The cynical side of me thinks that the "of course, I still fancy girls" comment could be a Public Relations ploy so that he doesn't alienate his female fans, however, the other side of me believes that the lack of labels is purely a reflection of how more young people today are comfortable and fluid with their sexuality and their emotions, and don't feel the need to put themselves in boxes.
For me, one of the best things about Tom's coming out is that there were no 'shock' headlines on the news programmes or in the papers, the whole event has been dealt with in a 'and by the way' manner that reflects the importance of the story - and THAT is what MAKES it so important.
Just a few years ago it would have been a very different matter!
But by far the best thing is that if just ONE teenager who is struggling with coming to terms with their sexuality sees Tom as an inspiration, and decides not to try and take their life, or sees more hope than they did, then the world has taken another step forward.
In this respect, we can all be an inspiration to others by being true to ourselves and sharing it through our artistic work.
Tomorrow, be the reason for someone's smile.