“These past Olympic Games, there were more out LGBT athletes than any of the previous Olympics combined, which is a great step forward,” Daley said in a speech while accepting the Sports Award at this year's Attitude Awards that took place this past week. “Yet there are still 10 countries that punish being gay with death, that were allowed to compete at the Olympic Games.”
Daley went on to say that while words were “all well and good” in confronting homophobia, he also thought “it’s really important to try and create change rather than just highlighting and shining a light on those things.”
He then pledged to make it his “mission” to “make it so that the countries that criminalize and [make it] punishable by death for LGBT people are not allowed to compete at the Olympic Games.”
Daley spoke of how lucky he considered himself to live in a country where his sexuality and who he loved are not considered a crime.
“I feel like wherever you are born, you should be able to have that stress taken away from you,” he continued. “And for those 10 countries where you can’t be yourself, I think they should not be allowed to compete at the Olympic Games, definitely should not be allowed to host an Olympic Games.”
While not an Olympic host country, Daley leveled his sights on Qatar, which is hosting the World Cup. He said the Middle Eastern country “has extreme rules against LGBT people and about women. And I think it should not be allowed for a sporting event to host in a country that criminalizes against basic human rights.”
Daley won his first Olympic gold medal this summer in the men’s swimming 10m platform event, besting the defending champions Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen representing China by little more than a single point. It was the first time divers from China did not take first place since 2000. It was an emotional win for Daley, and he could be seen shedding tears on the victory podium.
He also won the bronze medal for the men’s 10m individual dive, beating out Russian diver Aleksandr Bondar for the final medal. Russian television hosts on Rossiya 1 Network's 60 Minutes show called Daley “a British homosexual” after the win, while referring to Bondar as “a normal guy.”
“In Britain, of course, they have their own values,” TV presenter Olga Skabeyeva said during the broadcast as the screen showed images of Daley, his husband Dustin Lance Black, and their son. “If these guys weren’t raising a child together, then it’d be their business. They at least compete with other blokes.”
The programming wasn’t much better on Russia's Channel One, where Time Will Tell host Anatoly Kuzichev donned a wig on the July 26 show to mock Team New Zealand’s trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard (although he ended up looking more like Pippi Longstocking than an Olympic athlete).
Daley gave himself a tentative goal of pushing to help ban anti-LGBTQ+ countries from the Olympic games by the 2024 Olympics, which are being held in Paris, France.
“So that is going to be my mission now, to try and change that,” Daley said.
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