Gay diver Tom Daley has made a statement on LGBTQ+ rights in Commonwealth countries at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games are back in the UK this year, in host city Birmingham.
Tom Daley took part in the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony this morning (local time). The 28-year-old carried the Queen’s baton into Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.
He was backed up by half a dozen advocates from various Commonwealth nations waving rainbow flags behind Daley.
Tom Daley used the opening ceremony moment was to emphasise that homosexuality is illegal in 35 of the Commonwealth’s 56 countries.
Many are still enforcing British colonial-era laws criminalising queer identities.
Punishments can include whipping, imprisonment and even the death penalty in some countries.
Daley recently toured many of the countries for a new documentary Tom Daley: Illegal To Be Me to hear from those directly impacted by the horrific laws.
“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,” he said.
The British diver said he couldn’t fathom everyday life in some of the countries.
“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,” he said.
“LGBT+ athletes must be safe and feel comfortable being their authentic selves without fear of persecution or death.”
Tom Daley, a four-time Commonwealth champion, isn’t competing at the Commonwealth Games this year.
He’s on a break from his sport after winning his first gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
Watch Tom Daley’s opening ceremony moment below:
Wow, what an amazingly powerful moment as @TomDaley1994 carries the Commonwealth Baton into the #B2022 arena, supported by flag bearers representing the 35 Commonwealth countries that retain colonial anti-LGBT+ laws.
Billions are watching this from all over the planet 👏 👏 👏 pic.twitter.com/OlyQmKZNKp
— Scott Cuthbertson (@ScotCuthbertson) July 28, 2022
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— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) July 28, 2022
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