Olympic gold-medalist and LGBTQIA+ activist, Tom Daley, has said that it’s his mission to ban countries that criminalise and execute LGBTQIA+ people from competing in the Olympic games, reports NBC News. Speaking at the Attitude Awards for 2021, upon accepting The Sport Award, Daley said that he thinks, “it’s really important to try and create change, rather than just highlighting or shining a light on those things.”
In his acceptance speech, Daley highlighted that in the most recent Tokyo 2020 Olympics, there were more out LGBTQIA+ athletes than any of the previous Olympic Games combined. However, he says that ten countries that competed at the Olympic Games still enforce laws that criminalise and punish LGBTQIA+ people with death. Approximately 60 other nations that competed criminalise same-sex relations in some capacity.
He said, “I think it should not be allowed for a sporting event to host in a country that criminalises against basic human rights… so, that is going to be my mission now to change that.” He said he hoped to make these changes by the Paris Olympic Games in 2024, or at the very least ban anti-LGBTQIA+ countries from hosting major sporting events in the future.
Daley also criticised FIFA for allowing Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup; a country that has anti-LGBTQIA+ laws in place and restrictions on women’s rights. Banning countries based on their treatment of LGBTQIA+ people is not out of the question for sporting organisations and has occurred before. From 1964 to 1988, the International Olympic Committee banned South Africa from competing due to their apartheid laws and racist treatment of people of colour.
In his speech Daley also thanked his diving partner Matty Lee, his husband Dustin Lance Black, and son Robbie. He also expressed his gratitude, saying, “I am incredibly lucky to come from Great Britain, where I am able to be my true authentic self and compete without worry of ramification.”