Out gay British Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley has slammed major sports leagues for awarding sporting events to homophobic countries, said there is no LGB without the T and lauded Australian footballer Josh Cavallo’s courage in coming out.

Daley made the remarks on Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message that will air on Christmas Day, December 25. Channel 4’s Christmas message first aired in 1993 and is an alternative to the Queen’s traditional Christmas Message to the nation.

Sporting Events For Homophobic Countries

The alternative Christmas message in previous years has featured queer British author Quentin Crisp, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, whistle-blower Edward Snowden, 9/11 survivor Genelle Guzman, Australian comedian Adam Hills, British author Katie Piper, among others.

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Last year, the message was delivered by a digitally created ‘deepfake’ The Queen.

In his message, Daley spoke out against homophobic countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia being allowed to host major sporting events. “In 2022 The World Cup is being held in the second most dangerous country on earth 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?  Hosting a world cup is an honour. Why are we honouring them?  Holding a Formula 1 grand prix is an honour. Why are we honouring Saudi Arabia?”

Well done, Josh!

Josh Cavallo. Image: Twitter

Daley, won a gold medal for men’s synchronised 10 metre platform diving and a bronze medal in the men’s individual 10 metre platform diving at the Tokyo Olympics. Daley married Oscar-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black in 2017 and the couple adopted their first child in 2018.

In his speech he commended out trans gold medalist Quinn and Australian footballer Cavallo.

“Football is the world’s most popular.   There are over 65,000 people who play the game professionally.   Do you know how many top-flight men’s football players are out as gay? ONE. One footballer who has felt able to come out and talk about his sexuality.”

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“In October Australian player Josh Cavallo came out and is currently the only out top-flight men’s footballer.  Well done Josh, I mean, your courage is amazing.”

As for his Christmas wish: ‘That one impossibly brave Premier League player steps forward and says ”I am gay”.’

 

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Read the full transcript of Daley’s Alternative Christmas message.

“I started knitting to help with my mental health…We don’t traditionally talk about stuff like that in sport – we’re not supposed to ‘do’ fear.

Being in the public spotlight since the age of 14 I’ve had some amazing experiences, and I’ve been proud to represent my country; but there have been times when I felt that I wasn’t good enough.  I felt I couldn’t dive. On some days the biggest leap was simply getting out of bed.

 

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A post shared by Tom Daley (@tomdaley)

This year listening to many sports people open up and talk about their own struggles has inspired me to open up and talk about my own mental health more often.  In the summer, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from competition at the height of her career, put her hands up and said that she was struggling.  We should all be inspired by the strength she showed, that it’s okay to not be okay, and when that happens that you are right to lay down boundaries and not to harm yourself to please others.

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I am incredibly lucky that I can live my life as an out gay man, my family, friends, fellow divers, and my coaches have all been amazingly supportive.   Mostly they don’t care, because it doesn’t change who I am to them. I’m deliberately myself and this is just extra info.   So what, who cares who’s gay anymore, right?

 

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But if we are talking specifically about sports, Football is the world’s most popular.   There are over 65,000 people who play the game professionally.   Do you know how many top-flight men’s football players are out as gay? ONE. One footballer who has felt able to come out and talk about his sexuality.

In October Australian player Josh Cavallo came out and is currently the only out top-flight men’s footballer.  Well done Josh, I mean, your courage is amazing. But just think for a moment about the number of players who are too scared to speak up, and how lonely that must be.

 

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A post shared by Tom Daley (@tomdaley)

Nearly 7% of people in the UK identify as gay or bisexual… And there are around 500 Premier League players.   That means statistically there are enough players for three football teams running out onto that pitch every week. At least one gay man at every single club in the Premier League, living a lie. So, if I had one Christmas wish it would be that next year that changes. That one impossibly brave Premier League player steps forward and says ”I am gay”.

That person would inspire gay people everywhere, give hope to thousands of teenagers struggling with their sexuality and save the lives of countless young people who don’t currently feel like they have a place in this world.

In 2022 The World Cup is being held in the second most dangerous country on earth 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?  Hosting a world cup is an honour. Why are we honouring them?  Holding a Formula 1 grand prix is an honour. Why are we honouring Saudi Arabia?

 

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A post shared by Tom Daley (@tomdaley)

Women’s sport seems to be further ahead than men’s.  This year’s Olympics saw its first trans athletes competing. And Quinn was the first out trans Olympic medallist securing the Gold for the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team.  The fact that they achieved this in the current climate of fear and panic around trans people, makes their achievements all the more impressive. There is no LGB with the T.

We can make this country the most accepting, the most inclusive, the most progressive country on Earth. What if, in Britain, anybody could be anything, regardless of where they started…?

What if we all started from the same place…? Now wouldn’t that be something to be proud of?

Merry Christmas everyone.”

 

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