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Tom Daley has stressed the importance of “every single person” within the LGBTQ+ community working together to combat hate, discrimination and violence.

As he accepted his award for Changemaker – presented by Meta Quest – at the sixth annual GAY TIMES Honours ceremony (25 November), the Olympic diver hit out at the Qatar World Cup as he delivered a powerful speech about unity and LGBTQ+ visibility.

“I am really, really sorry to announce that the first team to leave the World Cup is Qatar. Qatar is out of the World Cup,” he started, to cheers from the audience. 

“But as you all know, and what has been very clear recently, is that it is deadly to be LGBTQIA+ around the world or an ally from the events that have taken place so far this year and in the years’ past. Visibility equals freedom. When people start to take away our visibility, we start to take away our freedoms.”

Before acknowledging his privilege as a “little white gay man that dives and occasionally knits”,  Tom called for all sporting events around the world to have a “pro-LGBTQIA+ stance at the centre of their ethos”.

“It is imperative that every single person in here – like it was said before – every middle class, white gay cis man, stands up for the visibility of every single person in this community because the things that are being said by our politicians, about dampening down and compromising who we are every single day, is not okay,” he continued.

“Every time they say that, it is taking away our visibility and every time we take away our visibility, it takes away our freedom. So we are in this fight together, LGBTQIA+, every single person in the community has to work together. Everybody has to work as one. As soon as we start to get divided and fight amongst ourselves, it’s over.

“We have power in numbers if we are all able to work together.”

Tom was awarded the Honour for Changemaker for tirelessly using his platform to advocate for and represent LGBTQ+ people across the world.

@gaytimes Well said, @tomdaley 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️ #GTHonours #tomdaley #tomdaleydiving #tomdaleyknitting #tomdaleyillegaltobeme #tomdaleyinterview ♬ original sound – GAY TIMES

As 1.5 billion people tuned into the Commonwealth Games 2022 Opening Ceremony this summer, they were witness to LGBTQ+ history being made as Tom jogged into the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham as part of the Queen’s Baton Relay.

With the release of his critically-acclaimed BBC documentary, Illegal to Me, and by creating a first-of-its-kind manifesto with activists from across the globe, Tom has put into motion a plan to start driving positive and progressive change via sporting bodies.

Tom also worked with human rights organisations such as Kaleidoscope Trust, Rainbow Railroad, and Micro Rainbow to make sure he was speaking with the right people, asking the right questions, and ensuring the doc achieves what it sets out to do.

GAY TIMES Honours sponsored by Meta Quest celebrated the individuals and organisations who have had a profound effect on the lives of LGBTQ+ people over the past 12 months.

This year’s event saw a star-studded lineup of performers including Tove Lo, Cat Burns, Grag Queen, Kai-Isaiah Jamal and Keanan, as well as a DJ set from Princess Julia.

The new digital edition of GAY TIMES magazine spotlights this year’s winners and is available to read now on the GAY TIMES app, Apple News +, Readly and Flipster.