Tom Daley has said it is his responsibility to use his OBE to speak out for LGBT+ people around the world.
2021 was, to say the least, a pretty epic year for Tom Daley.
From winning gold in the Tokyo Olympics, saucy photoshoots and book deals, launching his own knitting line, coming second in the 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, then delivering the UK’s Alternative Christmas Message… it’s fair to say that Daley went in hard during 2021.
To cap off the year, Tom was appointed OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List, for “services to diving, LGBTQ+ rights and charity”.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Tom said he plans to use his OBE to promote inclusion and “make the whole Commonwealth a better place for LGBT people”.
“I feel it’s almost like a responsibility to make the whole Commonwealth a better place for LGBT people, for women, for people of colour, to make it a more inclusive and more accepting environment”, Daley said.
Continuing: “It is now my responsibility to try and help create change and help create this environment where everybody can be anything that they want, no matter where they came from.”
Speaking about the importance of visibility, Daley added: “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.”
“I think it’s really important to be able to lift up all of the people that feel like they’re outsiders, feel like they don’t fit in, and feel like they have been ‘less than’ for so many years, to support them in being whatever they want to be.
“I feel… able to lift up their voices.”
During Tom’s ‘Alternative Christmas Message’ (which you can watch below), Daley touched on the decision to hold the World Cup 2022 in Qatar, where same sex intercourse is punishable by flogging, stoning to death or up to seven years in prison.
“In 2022 the World Cup is being held in the second most dangerous country for queer people, Qatar. Why are we allowing places that aren’t safe for all fans and all players to host our most prestigious sporting events?”, Daley said.
Tom was one of a record breaking number of out LGBT+ athletes to compete in the Olympics in 2021, but was also subjected to some offensive commentary on Russian state television in Tokyo.
At the time, he said:
“There’s still a lot further to go. There are 10 countries that are competing at these Olympic Games where being LGBT is punishable by death.
“I feel extremely lucky to be representing Team GB, to be able to stand on the diving board as myself with a husband and a son and not worry about any ramifications.
“But I know that I’m very fortunate to have that and that there are lots of people who grow up around the world with less fortunate situations.”
Check Tom’s ‘alternative Christmas message’ below: