Out gay British Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley is receiving praise for his new documentary film ‘Illegal To Be Me‘ that explores the lives of gay athletes, many living in countries where homosexuality is illegal.
Daley said the shooting the film exposed him to the fact that the laws against homosexuality in Commonwealth countries were a legacy of British colonialism.
“It opened my eyes to so many different things, where the laws came from, where that homophobia stemmed from in the first place and it is a legacy of colonialism and speaking to them, in particular, was very eye-opening,” Daley told BBC Radio 4.
Meeting Gay Athletes
In a social media post, Daley revealed that he had been travelling around the world meeting other gay athletes for the film.
“This year I have been travelling around the Commonwealth, visiting countries where same sex relationships are a crime,” said Daley.
“I have spoken to athletes, advocates and activists to try and find out how they think sporting federations can better support and protect LGBTQIA+ athletes. The people in the documentary highlight the importance of visibility for queer people and it taught me an incredible amount about how we can continue the fight for equality,” said Daley.
Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, Daley had in October 2021 said that he was on a “mission” to get the Olympics to ban countries where homosexuality is punishable by death.
Daley had come out in a powerful YouTube video in 2013. The British diver married Oscar-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black in 2017 and the couple adopted their first child in 2018.
The Queen’s Baton At Commonwealth Games
Last month, at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Daley along with six other LGBTQI athletes carried the Queen’s baton into the stadium.
“In over half of the Commonwealth countries, homosexuality is still a crime and in three 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,” said Daley.
The Olympic gold medalist walked with Bisi Alimi, the first gay man to come out on Nigerian national television, Glenroy Murray from Jamaica, Dutee Chand, the first and only out gay Indian athlete, Moud Goba from Zimbabwe, Jason Jones, who fought a successful legal battle to decriminalise adult consensual same-sex intimacy in Trinidad and Tobago in 2018 and Prossy Kakooza from Uganda.
“Myself, along with LGBTQ+ activists and athletes around the Commonwealth are trying to change that, and make the Games a safer, more comfortable place for LGBTQ+ athletes,” said Daley.
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