An author has expertly explained why Tom Daley saying he’s proud to be gay at the Olympics is necessary, actually.
Following Tom Daley’s groundbreaking victory in the men’s synchronised 10m platform dive during the Tokyo Olympics, the Team GB athlete said: “I am proud to say I am a gay man and an Olympic champion.”
While many celebrated Daley’s win and his pride in being a part of the LBGT+ community, others were critical and argued that “mentioning his sexuality” wasn’t necessary.
One particular troll tweeted: “His sexual preference bears no relation to his skills.”
Author of The Complete David Bowie Nicholas Pegg expertly replied to the thread, explaining that it was in fact “necessary” for Daley to mention his sexuality at the Olympics because many countries competing oppose LGBT+ rights.
He wrote: “There are 10 nations taking part in this year’s Tokyo Olympics which prescribe the death penalty for homosexuality.
“They would literally execute Tom Daley.”
Because there are ten – that’s TEN – nations taking part in this year’s Tokyo Olympics which prescribe the death penalty for homosexuality. They would literally execute Tom Daley. List available on request. Next ignorant question. https://t.co/h8aDc0L80Y
— Nicholas Pegg (@NicholasPegg) July 26, 2021
The list includes Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Being gay in any of those countries can be punishable by death. However, even in more supposedly ‘progressive’ countries, LGBT+ people often face discrimination and violence.
Just a few weeks ago, six people were arrested in connection with the killing of 24-year-old man in Spain in what is assumed to be a homophobic attack. And in the UK, cases of anti-LGBT+ hate remain stubbornly persistent amid government inaction on issues such as conversion therapy and trans healthcare inequalities.
Tom Daley came out in 2013 and has been open about receiving homophobic abuse both then and subsequently when he and his husband had a child via surrogacy.
This is not the first time that the diver has mentioned his sexuality at an international sporting event, previously using the Commonwealth Games to call for a number of Commonwealth countries to decriminalise homosexuality.
“I feel extremely lucky to compete openly as who I am, not worry about ramifications,” he said, in 2018. “But for lots of people living in those countries it is not the case.”
He has also said that homophobia is a “massive thing within sport” and it is important for “LGBT+ athletes to be able to come out and share their personal stories”.