In a video titled “Gay Men Hate Us for Being in Love,” ex-rugby star Sam Stanley and his fiancé, Laurence Hicks, open up about the cyber bullying they received after they came out as a couple. But more importantly, the pair also reveals the support they received from people in the gay community.
After meeting on the website SilverDaddies.com, the pair began dating in 2011. Stanley came out as gay in an interview with the Sunday Times in 2015, and later opened up about his relationship with Hicks in May of last year.
In a new video clip, the pair chat with Digital Pride about the cyber bullying they received after coming out as a couple, but also the positive support they found from some in the gay community responding to that hate being thrown their way.
“Well, the negative reactions were only in the conversation as a result of your piece, and yeah, obviously, I think that we had two choices,” Hicks explains. “You either just ignore it and not read it and just don’t worry about it. Or you kind of read it and respond to it, and I think we decided we wouldn’t respond to it. We would just let everyone say what they wanted to say, but the interesting thing was that other people were saying what we really wanted to say for us.”
“There was actually a lot of very negative reaction to that negative reaction from the gay community, which was fantastic, and actually I think it inspired more people to come out, actually, and be very positive,” Stanley says.
Asked about the comments coming from gay men and what they looked like, Hicks answers, “There were two different levels which we could narrow down to two key areas. One, from his perspective, they were accusing him of being a ‘gold digger’ and seeking financial gain from our relationship. And I was being called a ‘perv’ because I liked a younger guy. That is basically what it boils down to.”
“The thing about our relationship is that we can publicize that this is an actual relationship, and this happens because there are many, many relationships similar,” Stanley says. “It’s great to be able to be in the position we’re able to be in to actually get that out there.”
This story highlights the power of community. You’ve likely heard the phrase “Never read the comments.”
Sam Stanley and Laurence Hicks did the right thing by staying away from the vitriol being spewed about them online. But we’re proud that after this couple put their story out there, others from our community came to their defense.
Love is love, right? And as long as both parties are consenting adults, there is no limit — age or otherwise — on what that love can look like.