Tom Daley has condemned homophobia across Commonwealth nations ahead of the start of competition in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
As part of a new BBC documentary – which will be broadcast in August – the Olympic champion visited some of the Commonwealth’s most homophobic countries to expose the danger and discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community.
“I’ve experienced homophobia all my life, competing in countries where it’s illegal to be me and where I don’t feel safe to leave the venue I’m competing in…” said Daley. “If I feel like that as a privileged man, I can’t imagine what day-to-day life is like for LGBT+ people around the Commonwealth.”
The film will culminate with Daley, who won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018, carrying the Queen’s baton into Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium for the opening ceremony, accompanied by some of the athletes and advocates he met on his journey.
Out of 56 Commonwealth member states, 35 criminalise same-sex relations, making up half of the countries globally that outlaw homosexuality. Seven Commonwealth nations have a maximum penalty of life imprisonment under laws imposed by Britain during colonisation.
“LGBT+ athletes must be safe and feel comfortable being their authentic selves without fear of persecution or death…” said Daley. “The Commonwealth Games Federation has been willing to talk and willing to hear what we have to say, and it’s good to see they’ve started taking a stance towards more inclusion.”
Who is Tom Daley?
Tom Daley came to the world’s attention as an Olympic diver, competing for the UK.
Specialising in multiple events, Daley is an Olympic gold medallist in the men’s synchronised 10-metre platform event at the 2020 Olympics and double world champion in the FINA 10-metre platform event, winning in 2009 at the age of fifteen, and again in 2017. He is an Olympic bronze medallist in the 2012 platform event, the 2016 synchronised event, and the 2020 platform event, making him the first British diver to win four Olympic medals. Daley also competes in team events, winning the inaugural mixed team World title in 2015. He is a 5-time European champion and 4-time Commonwealth champion.
Beyond diving, Daley is known for speaking publicly about LGBTQ issues.