Commonwealth Games 2022: what did Tom Daley say about LGBT+ rights ahead of Birmingham games?

The Olympic medal-winning diver called out the persecusion of LGBT+ people in Commonwealth countries ahead of the 2022 games in Birmingham

<p>Diver Tom Daley has criticised Commonwealth countries for their poor LGBTQ+ records ahead of the 2022 games. (Credit: Getty Images)</p>

Diver Tom Daley has criticised Commonwealth countries for their poor LGBTQ+ records ahead of the 2022 games. (Credit: Getty Images)

Tom Daley has criticised the experience of LGBT+ people in some Commonwealth countries ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Olympic medalist has pointed out the hypocrisy of the groups message of inclusion and equality in the event, with millions of LGBT+ facing persecusion in some of the countries taking part.

His comments have come as Daley plans to protest the issue with the Peter Tatchell foundation, a human right charity, alongside hundreds of other LGBT+ campaigners.

Diver Tom Daley has criticised Commonwealth countries for their poor LGBTQ+ records ahead of the 2022 games. (Credit: Getty Images)

What did Tom Daley say about LGBT+ rights in the Commonwealth?

Daley has called out Commonwealth countries taking part in the games which have created a hostile environment for LGBT+ people in their country.

He said: “35 out of the 56 Commonwealth member states criminalise same-sex relations. That’s half the countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality.

“Seven Commonwealth nations have a maximum penalty of life imprisonment under laws imposed by Britain in the 19th century when it was the colonial power.

“Every single person should be free to live their true authentic self, no matter where they are born or who they are. We must all keep working until everyone is free and equal.”

He has joined calls from the Tatchell Foundation for the Commonwealth organisation to honour its charter of human rights and equality.

Daley is planning to protest with Peter Tatchell and LGBT+ campaigners during the arrival of the Commonwealth baton at Aston Hall in Birmingham on 28 July.

What did Peter Tatchell say about the issue?

Peter Tatchell, a human rights campaigner and founder of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, has been vocal on this issue.

He has criticised the games organisers for speaking of inclusion and equality, despite the worrying record of treatment against LGBT+ people in many countries taking part.

Peter Tatchell attends the Gay Times Honours 2021 at Magazine London on November 19, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Gay Times)

He said: “Despite the Commonwealth Games Federation claiming that the games are open to everyone, it would be impossible for a known LGBT+ athlete to be selected for the national team of two-thirds of the competing Commonwealth nations. They would be jailed, not selected – no matter how good they were.

“The criminalisation of LGBT+ people is in defiance of the Commonwealth Charter which these countries have signed and promised to uphold. It pledges equal rights and non-discrimination to all Commonwealth citizens.

Mr Tatchell called the Commonwealth a “homophobic institution”, adding that LGBT+ issues have never been discussed or acted upon by the 56 member states.

He added: “I have tried for 30 years to get the Commonwealth leader’s summit to discuss the criminalisation of LGBTs by more than 62% of the member states. They refuse and most also reject dialogue with their local LGBT+ communities.

“Commonwealth countries account for more than half of the world’s 68 nations where same-sex relations are illegal. Anti-LGBT+ discrimination and hate crime are widespread and unchecked in most Commonwealth countries.”

What are Commonweath countries records on LGBT+ rights?

Currently, same-sex marriage and relationships is only legal in 21 member states of the Commonwealth - this accounts for only 37.5% of the membership.

In addition to this, seven nations - Bangladesh, Barbados, Guyana, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda - impose a life sentence for breaking same-sex relation laws.

Brunei and Northern Nigera both impose the death penalty.

The lasting impact of the British Empire is often given as a reason for same-sex relationships not being lawful in some former colony states.

Strict sodomy laws were introduced by British colonisers and some have stayed in placed even after gaining independence from Britain.