Tom Daley Takes Stand Against Criminalized Homosexuality at Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

The Olympian made a statement about the "legacy of colonialism" with many Commonwealth countries as he and some friends flew the Progress Pride flag at Thursday's opening ceremony

Tom Daley carries the Queen’s Baton during the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Photo: Elsa/Getty

Tom Daley continues to use his high-dive platform to promote LGBTQ rights around the world.

The Olympic diving gold medalist, 28, made history by carrying the Queen's Baton while flanked with Progress Pride flags during Thursday's opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, England.

The display, which was in support those living in countries that continue to criminalize homosexuality, came after months of "painstaking negotiations," according to the BBC, as more than a billion people were expected to tune in.

Daley was joined by athletes and activists he met while filming his upcoming BBC documentary Tom Daley: Illegal to Be Me, for which he travelled through Commonwealth countries where being LGBTQ is still criminalized, often under British colonial rules that remain in place.

"In over half of the Commonwealth countries, homosexuality is still a crime and in 3 of those countries the maximum penalty is the death sentence," Daley captioned a photo of himself with the group.

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"These laws are a legacy of colonialism," he added. "LGBT+ athletes must be safe and feel comfortable being their authentic selves without fear of persecution or death."

Daley has previously spoken out against the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) as more than half of the countries participating in the games criminalize homosexuality. He was recently given an OBE for his contribution to furthering LGBTQ rights worldwide.

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Katie Sadleir, CEO of GCF, told BBC Sport last week that there are currently no policies banning such countries from hosting the games, although it is "less likely," and she wants to implement more policies to protect LGBTQ athletes.

"I think one of the things that is really important about the Commonwealth Games is its values," Sadleir said. "Humanity, destiny, and equity are embedded in most of the things that we do."

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