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Tom Daley stands proudly against anti-LGBTQ countries at Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

35 countries in the Commonwealth criminalise homosexuality.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: BBC and Instagram/@tomdaley

Tom Daley stood in solidarity with LGBTQ people living in Commonwealth countries that still criminalise homosexuality during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth games.

Entering the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham carrying the Queen’s baton on Thursday (28 July) Tom was flanked by several activists from some of the 35 countries that punish same-sex relations all carrying Progress Pride flags. 

Wearing a bejeweled ensemble the diver, 28, carried the baton into the stadium where he ran in support for LGBTQ people. 

The Olympic champion, who was recently awarded an OBE in part for his campaigning for LGBTQ rights, called out the 35 countries ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) summit in June.

Posting ahead of the opening ceremony on Instagram on Thursday Tom said: “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.

“These laws are a legacy of colonialism. This opening ceremony for us is about showing LGBTQ+ visibility to the billion people watching so I wanted to shout out the incredible six people that I’ll be walking into the stadium with,” before naming the activists: Bisi Alimi from Nigeria, Glenroy Murray from Jamaica, Dutee Chand from India, Moud Goba  from Zimbabwe, Jason Jones from Trinidad and Tobago, and Prossy Kakooza from Uganda.

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A post shared by Tom Daley (@tomdaley)

Daley recently stated he is “furious” at the decision made by swimming’s world governing body, FINA, to restrict transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions.

The sporting star told iNews: “You know, like most queer people, anyone that’s told that they can’t compete or can’t do something they love just because of who they are, it’s not on,”

Last year at the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards, Tom stated that he wanted countries in which homosexuality is criminalised to be barred from hosting sporting events.

The BBC announced on Wednesday (27 July) that Tom would be featuring in a new documentary, Tom Daley: Illegal to be Me, which will see the athlete travel to countries in the Commonwealth that criminalise same-sex relations and meet with people to discuss what can be done about changing the laws. 

Tom Daley: Illegal to be Me will air on Tuesday 9 August at 9 pm.

The Attitude September/October issue is available to download and order in print now and will be on newsstands from Thursday 4 August.