United Kingdom

Olympic diver Tom Daley blames ‘legacy of colonialism’ for homophobia across Commonwealth countries

Champion diver Tom Daley has blamed ‘a legacy of colonialism’ for homophobia throughout the Commonwealth whereas calling for ‘much less oppression’ in order that nations with anti-LGBT legal guidelines can host the video games.

The four-time Olympic medalist, who got here out as homosexual in 2013, has spent the final yr producing a documentary known as Tom Daley: Unlawful to Be Me, by which he visits ‘probably the most homophobic nations within the Commonwealth’.

‘I’ve been informed that sport and politics should not collide however on the similar time you need to acknowledge what is going on on round you,’ he says within the BBC One present, which airs tonight.

Daley mentioned that discussing the problem on his documentary with one interviewee, a ‘fairly controversial’ Pakistani popstar, modified his perspective. 

‘It opened my eyes to so many alternative issues, the place the legal guidelines got here from, the place that homophobia stemmed from within the first place and it’s a legacy of colonialism and talking to him specifically was very eye-opening.’ 

Tom Daley together with six LGBT advocates and athletes from throughout the Commonwealth on the opening ceremony of this yr’s Commonwealth Video games

Daley carrying the baton at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, held in Birmingham this summer

Daley carrying the baton on the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Video games, held in Birmingham this summer season

Daley posing with his husband, Oscar-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, after being awarded an OBE in July

Daley posing together with his husband, Oscar-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, after being awarded an OBE in July

On the outset of the documentary, the 28-year-old says his want is to cease nations with anti-LGBT legal guidelines from internet hosting the video games. ‘I do know that may be a daring want,’ he says, ‘but it surely has to start out someplace to create some change.’

However, throughout an interview selling it, Daley mentioned he has modified his view that nations with anti-LGBT legal guidelines needs to be banned from internet hosting sports activities occasions.

Talking this morning on BBC Radio 4’s At present Programme, Daley mentioned homophobic nations needs to be allowed to host sporting occasions as banning them ‘places a goal on the again of LGBT folks’. 

Tom Daley travels around the Commonwealth to speak to fellow LGBT athletes in his new documentary Tom Daley: Illegal to Be Me

Tom Daley travels across the Commonwealth to talk to fellow LGBT athletes in his new documentary Tom Daley: Unlawful to Be Me 

'Eye-opening': Daley changes his mind about banning countries with anti-LGBT laws from hosting the Commonwealth Games

‘Eye-opening’: Daley modifications his thoughts about banning nations with anti-LGBT legal guidelines from internet hosting the Commonwealth Video games

‘Coming in and saying ‘we will not host a contest’ places a goal on the again of LGBT folks in that nation as in ‘they’re the explanation why we will not host this competitors’,’ he mentioned.

‘So with the ability to strategy it with much less oppression and giving folks the chance to be taught and to develop in a means that, for instance, having the pro-LGBT rights stance on the forefront of the Commonwealth video games ethos for instance narrows out sure nations that might have the ability to host it for instance. 

‘Not saying they cannot host it however saying they should put it on the entrance of their ethos.’

'The Colonial Legacy of Homophobia': In the documentary Daley looks at Nigerian laws from 1923 with Nigerian LGBT activist Bisi Alimi

‘The Colonial Legacy of Homophobia’: Within the documentary Daley seems at Nigerian legal guidelines from 1923 with Nigerian LGBT activist Bisi Alimi

Daley listens to Bisi Alimi, a lecturer in African LGBT history, during the documentary Tom Daley: Illegal to Be Me

Daley listens to Bisi Alimi, a lecturer in African LGBT historical past, through the documentary Tom Daley: Unlawful to Be Me

Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian LGBT rights advocate who fled the country for the UK after being persecuted for being gay

Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian LGBT rights advocate who fled the nation for the UK after being persecuted for being homosexual

The athlete advised {that a} answer could be to encourage nations with homophobic legal guidelines to show rainbow flags at sports activities occasions to offer athletes and followers ‘an indication of security’.

‘Right here within the UK we take without any consideration our privilege and the truth that we see rainbow flags in locations, however for these folks across the Commonwealth the place their existence is unlawful, that may be a signal of security and is a beacon of hope.

‘With the ability to embrace LGBT flags in stadiums and likewise in sporting occasions so these folks really feel protected they usually really feel welcome, they really feel seen, and likewise with the ability to give folks the entry to the right assist and security measures if their life is in peril.’

Within the documentary, Daley speaks to Nigerian LGBT rights activist Bisi Alimi, who fled the nation after he got here out on TV, with same-sex exercise criminalised there. 

Alimi exhibits the athlete laws from 1923 Nigeria, by which ‘indecent practices between males’ is listed as against the law.

He explains that this later grew to become generally known as ‘the homosexual legislation’ in Nigeria. 

‘The second this legislation got here into existence grew to become the second in historical past when homosexuality grew to become a legal offence in Nigeria,’ he mentioned, including that the legislation was imposed by Britain.

Daley and Alimi at the Lincoln's Inn library studying a legal document from 1923 Nigeria

Daley and Alimi on the Lincoln’s Inn library learning a authorized doc from 1923 Nigeria

'The moment this law came into existence became the moment in history when homosexuality became a criminal offence in Nigeria,' Alimi tells Daley in the documentary as they study Nigerian legislation from 1923

‘The second this legislation got here into existence grew to become the second in historical past when homosexuality grew to become a legal offence in Nigeria,’ Alimi tells Daley within the documentary as they examine Nigerian laws from 1923

The sportsman then asks Alimi why Nigeria has not eliminated the legislation.

‘You need to perceive it’s not simply laws in a guide. It grew to become a part of college curriculum, it grew to become a part of spiritual ideas that the colonialists utilized in educating the ‘natives’.

‘After which post-colonial you could have the emergence of the Evangelicals who nonetheless imagine homosexuality is immoral.’

Politics professors Enze Han and Joseph O’Mahoney, who wrote a key work on the problem known as ‘British Colonialism and the Criminalization of Homosexuality’, have argued it’s a advanced image.

Of their work they clarify how, from 1860, the British Empire applied authorized codes outlawing intimate relationships between males, leaving what they describe as an ‘institutional legacy’.

Barrister and political commentator Rupert Myers tweeted that he is 'not convinced' that homophobia is 'entirely a "legacy of colonialism"'

Barrister and political commentator Rupert Myers tweeted that he’s ‘not satisfied’ that homophobia is ‘fully a ‘legacy of colonialism”

Journalist Benjamin Butterworth tweeted that he agrees with Tom Daley and added that 'Britain needs to right its historic wrongs'

Journalist Benjamin Butterworth tweeted that he agrees with Tom Daley and added that ‘Britain must proper its historic wrongs’

Of their analysis they examined ‘the nonetheless fairly prevalent concept that British imperialism “poisoned” societies towards homosexuality’, however argue that proof to again this up is ‘inconclusive at greatest’.

‘We regarded in some element not simply on the historic origins of those nations’ anti-homosexuality legal guidelines, however of the up to date political processes which have to date prevented a few of them from scrapping the legal guidelines,’ they write on The Dialog.

‘Primarily based on our analysis, we argue that the proof in favour of the declare is inconclusive at greatest. 

‘Amongst former colonies with legal guidelines like these, former British colonies don’t appear to have decriminalised gay conduct any extra slowly than colonies of different European states. 

‘This means that the “stickiness” of repressive establishments is comparatively constant throughout totally different nations and histories, and never particular to a specific sort of colonialism.’

Twitter customers have questioned the hyperlink between British colonialism and anti-LGBT discrimination, with a quantity pointing to hardline spiritual nations mostly outlawing homosexual intercourse.

Barrister Rupert Myers wrote: ‘Nice to listen to Tom Daley on @BBCr4today – a beautiful athlete – not satisfied homophobia in some nations is fully a ‘legacy of colonialism’ although. Saudi Arabia, Iran & Ethiopia had been by no means colonised, and are virulently homophobic nations.’

In the meantime, journalist Benjamin Butterworth wrote: ‘@TomDaley1994 is correct that Britain exported homophobia across the Commonwealth,’ and added that ‘Britain must proper its historic wrongs.’

Daley competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where he won two medals

Daley competing on the 2014 Commonwealth Video games in Glasgow, the place he received two medals

A complete of 35 of the 54 Commonwealth nations have legal guidelines criminalising homosexuality as of July final yr, in response to authorities analysis. 

Daley, who didn’t compete on this yr’s video games, has mentioned that after a latest awakening to the realities dealing with different LGBT athletes, he’s now planning to spend extra time advocating for homosexual rights.

‘I used to be competing within the Commonwealth Video games, I had simply received a gold medal, and was sitting having a burger with my husband and mum.

‘It dawned on me that I haven’t got to fret about any of the ramifications of that,’ he informed The Large Difficulty.

‘I thought of how lucky I’m. As a result of in over half the Commonwealth nations which might be competing, it’s unlawful to be queer.

‘That was after I began researching how that may be campaigned towards, and what could be completed on the planet of sport to assist affect that.

‘As a result of sport has an actual energy for change.’ 

Daley, who’s married to and has a son with Oscar-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, listened to the the struggles of LGBT athletes whereas travelling across the Commonwealth.

Daley was sent an anonymous from a gay male athlete and heard upsetting testimony from two female athletes who were victims of homophobic abuse in Pakistan

Daley was despatched an nameless from a homosexual male athlete and heard upsetting testimony from two feminine athletes who had been victims of homophobic abuse in Pakistan

He mentioned: ‘One of many athletes in Pakistan mentioned to me I used to be the primary homosexual man she’d ever knowingly met.

‘Once I informed her I’ve a husband and we drop our son to nursery, I cried, after which she cried too.

‘She had this second of imagining what it could be like to have the ability to have a spouse, to have the ability to have children.

‘She was asking what I might do to get her in another country, it was actually loads.

‘So it’s going to be a heavy documentary but it surely’s issues that folks want to listen to.’

Daley said that he heard 'heartbreaking' stories about fellow LGBT athletes while filming the documentary

Daley mentioned that he heard ‘heartbreaking’ tales about fellow LGBT athletes whereas filming the documentary

He additionally informed BBC Radio 4: ‘I acquired an nameless letter from a homosexual male athlete which once more talks of suicide, talks of how they’re by no means going to slot in of no hope for the longer term that they’re ever going to be themselves. It was actually fairly heartbreaking to listen to a number of the tales.’

The Commonwealth Video games medal winner mentioned that his purpose with the documentary is to ‘persuade it to change into the primary sporting occasion to essentially take a stand.’

The athlete, who acquired an OBE for companies to diving in July, has now spoken with the president of the Commonwealth Video games Federation to push for change.

This yr the World Cup will likely be hosted in Qatar and the System 1 Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia, each of that are Muslim nations and have the loss of life penalty for same-sex sexual exercise enshrined in legislation.

Tom Daley: Unlawful to Be Me airs tonight at 9pm on BBC One.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.