Diver Tom Daley makes plea for 37 Commonwealth nations to relax anti-gay laws
He landed gold on Friday in the men’s synchronized 10-meter platform alongside Dan Goodfellow, but his thoughts quickly turned to the 70% of Commonwealth nations where homosexuality is still illegal.
Almost all Commonwealth members were once part of Britain’s former Empire. Home to 2.2 billion people, the Commonwealth is now a voluntary association of 53 sovereign states, while the 2018 Games has involved 71 nations and territories.
In Australia — where the Games are being hosted — same-sex marriage was only legalized in December 2017, but the Gold Coast has continued the Olympic and Commonwealth trend of creating a Pride House as a comfortable place for LGBT athletes and the wider community during the Games.
“I feel so lucky to be able to be openly who I am without worry. I hope one day every athlete from every nation in the Commonwealth will be free to compete openly as who they are too,” tweeted Daley.
Later he said: “You want to feel comfortable in who you are when you are standing on that diving board and for 37 Commonwealth countries that are here participating, that is not the case.
“I feel with the Commonwealth, we can really help push some of the other nations to relax their laws on anti-gay stuff.”
Despite only being 23-years-old, Daley has been a prominent figure in British sport for over a decade, making his Olympic debut in Beijing aged 14 and becoming a world champion by 15.
He married American film screenwriter Dustin Lance Black in May 2017 and announced in February that they are expecting a child together.
Next month Daley is due to compete in Kazan, Russia for the Diving World Series, and expressed concerns about competing in the country.
“Going to Russia can be scary. You’ve got to compete in front of lots of people who know I’ve got a husband. You have to face those things, and try and make change.”
‘A meaningful role in a global conversation’
In response to Daley’s comments, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) CEO David Grevemberg said: “The CGF is committed to upholding the highest standards of equality and inclusivity. In doing so, we aim to respect, protect and promote human rights.
“The Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games have been the most inclusive events in our movement’s history.”
“I would like to congratulate Commonwealth Games diving champion Tom Daley on his gold medal performance,” he added.
“It is so affirming that he feels that the Commonwealth Games offers him a platform where he can perform at his very best and truly be himself.”
Grevemberg also pointed to the progress made even in the last three and a half years in terms of LGBT rights in the Commonwealth: “At the time of Glasgow 2014, 43 Commonwealth countries criminalized same sex activity, but today, that number has been reduced to 37,” he said.
“We hope that the Commonwealth Sports movement is playing a meaningful role in the wider global conversation around tolerance, empowerment and legal recognition for all.”
With Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea touted as potential host cities for the 2026 Games — both in countries where homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment — attention has turned to the criteria host cities must meet for the CGF’s approval.
“All Commonwealth Games Host City partners are obliged to uphold the UN guiding principles on Business and Human Rights,” Grevemberg said.
“And where possible commit to building awareness, advocating and taking meaningful action to ensure equality and inclusivity are paramount in the successful delivery of the Commonwealth Games.”
News credit : Cnn