×

We've got news for you.

Register on BusinessLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now
Tom Daley competing in the men’s 10m platform preliminaries in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on August 6 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/CLIVE ROSE
Tom Daley competing in the men’s 10m platform preliminaries in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on August 6 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/CLIVE ROSE

Britain’s Olympic diving champion Tom Daley has condemned homophobia across Commonwealth nations on the eve of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Birmingham on Thursday.

Homosexuality is a criminal offence in 35 of the 56 nations that make up the Commonwealth, with many still enforcing colonial-era laws from the British empire. Punishments include whipping, life imprisonment and death penalty.

As part of a BBC documentary to be aired in August, Daley travelled to some of the Commonwealth’s most homophobic countries to highlight the discrimination faced by the LGBTI+ community.

The film will culminate with Daley carrying the queen’s baton into Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium for the opening ceremony, accompanied by some of the athletes and advocates he met filming the documentary.

“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,” Daley, who came out as gay in 2013, said in a statement released on Wednesday.

“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.

“LGBT+ athletes must be safe and feel comfortable being their authentic selves without fear of persecution or death.”

Daley, 28, a four-time Commonwealth champion, said in June he will not compete at the 2022 event as he continues his break from competition after winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

Athletes featuring in his documentary, titled Tom Daley: Illegal To Be Me, include Michael Gunning, the only openly gay athlete on Jamaica’s national team, and Dutee Chand, India’s first openly gay athlete.

“The Commonwealth Games Federation can be a shining example to other sporting organisations that sports really can be for everyone and with the pull power sports has,” Daley said.

“We can hopefully influence change to horrendous human rights laws that exist in so many countries around the world.

“The CGF [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. Along with incredible LGBT+ people around the Commonwealth, we will make a difference.”  

Reuters

 

subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

Commenting is subject to our house rules.