Tom Daley Used the Opportunity to Champion the LGBTQ+ Community
British, Olympic champion diver Tom Daley rippled the waters at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. On the 28th of July, Daley entered Alexander Stadium in Birmingham carrying the LGBTQ+ Pride Progress flag alongside LGBTQ+ activists from more than 30 countries. This courageous act took place out of a desire to reject and criticise the 35 countries in the Commonwealth that are yet to stop punishment towards same-sex relations. An act that follows from Daley’s previous public criticism of the Commonwealth [in the context of sport] for continuing to support and involve governments that criminalise LGBTQ+ livelihoods.
The accomplished British diver who won gold at the Olympics last year took to his Instagram to speak about this display before the opening ceremony was aired, stating, “In over half of the Commonwealth countries, homosexuality is still a crime and in 3 of those countries the maximum penalty is the death sentence.” And, “This opening ceremony for us is about showing LGBTQ+ visibility to the billion people watching.”
Additionally, Daley stuck to his promise of visibility by showcasing the six activists that stood beside him in the opening ceremony. Including Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi, Jamaican activist J-Flag Glenroy Murray, openly gay Indian athlete Dutee Chand, Zimbabwean activist Moud Gaba and finally, Trinidadian LGBTQ+ advocate Jason Jones.
To continue the fight, Daley and the BBC announced on the 27th of July that the diver would be the frontman of a new LGBTQ+ activism documentary, titled ‘Tom Daley: Illegal to be Me’. Having been aired on the 9th of August, the documentary saw Daley travelling to Commonwealth countries that still criminalise any LGBTQ+ activity. He chose to meet with people to discuss what can be done about changing the laws to make a non-heterosexual lifestyle safer for those involved.
The documentary received positive feedback, and it is no doubt that Daley will continue to make waves, not ripples, in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights globally.