'In three Commonwealth countries the maximum penalty is the death sentence'
The Commonwealth Games 2022 was officially opened on 28 July, with an impressive opening ceremony and speech from Prince Charles, while his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was absent due to mobility concerns.
The evening saw thousands of athletes from the 72 Commonwealth nations arrive at the Birmingham venue where the sporting events will take place, as well as musical performances and dances.
The opening ceremony also saw Olympic diving gold medallist, Tom Daley, promote LGBTQ+ rights.
The 28-year-old diving sensation carried the Queen’s Baton with six other LGBTQ+ athletes and activists holding the Progress Pride flags as they made their way into Alexander Stadium.
Tom also took to social media to share shocking statistics surrounding homosexuality and it is viewed, in some Commonwealth countries, as a crime.
Alongside a photograph of Tom with Bisi Alimi, Glenroy Murray, Dutee Chand, Moud Goba, Jason Jones and Prossy Kakooza, who are all LGBTQ+ advocates and activists, which was shared on Tom’s Instagram account, he wrote: “Tonight at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, myself and 6 extraordinary LGBTQ+ athletes and advocates from around the Commonwealth will be carrying the Queen’s baton into the stadium. 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. These laws are a legacy of colonialism.”
Tom went on to praise his fellow LGBTQ+ activists in the group shot, and their work to help raise awareness.
The post continued: “This opening ceremony for us is about showing LGBTQ+ visibility to the billion people watching so I wanted to shout out the incredible six people that I’ll be walking into the stadium with:
“Bisi Alimi from Nigeria. The first gay man to come out on Nigerian national television who is now Executive Director of the Bisi Alimi Foundation, an organisation working to accelerate social acceptance of LGBT+ people in Nigeria.
“Glenroy Murray from Jamaica – Executive Director of J-FLAG, an LGBT rights organisation that continues to push for LGBT+ inclusion in all areas of life in Jamaica.
“Dutee Chand from India. Dutee is a professional sprinter and the first openly gay athlete on India’s national team. She is competing in this year’s Commonwealth Games.
“Moud Goba from Zimbabwe. National Manager at Micro Rainbow. Micro Rainbow supports LGBT+ asylum seekers and refugees fleeing persecution, providing safe accommodation and integration support in the UK.
“Jason Jones from Trinidad and Tobago. LGBT+ advocate who fought a successful legal battle to decriminalise adult consensual same-sex intimacy in Trinidad and Tobago in 2018.
“Prossy Kakooza from Uganda. LGBT+ activist and human rights defender. Works with Lesbian Immigration Support Group supporting women seeking asylum on the basis of their sexuality in and around Greater Manchester.”
The upload has received over 60,000 likes, with many fans reaching out with words of support and gratitude.
One fan commented: “A death sentence because you love someone, sometimes there are no words. You smashed it btw. Much love.”
Another wrote: “Thank you !! Literally my hero!”, while a third added: “Absolutely bright beacon of light!”
The Commonwealth Games will span across 11 days, and sporting aces will compete against one another to be crowned champion of their discipline as there are 283 medals, across gold, silver and bronze to be had, and come to an end 8 August.