Tom Daley showed his support for LGBTQ+ people living in countries that still criminalise homosexuality during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Thursday (28 July).

Entering the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham carrying the Queen’s baton and alongside several activists from some of the 35 countries that continue to punish same-sex relations, Daley and the activists carried Pride Progress flags.

The Olympic Gold medalist has previously criticised the Commonwealth for supporting governments that criminalise the LGBTQ+ community and was recently awarded an OBE for his services to sport and work campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights.

Ahead of the opening ceremony, Daley explained his entrance to the games on Instagram.

“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.

“This opening ceremony for us is is about showing LGBTQ+ visibility to the billion people watching.”

Alongside this caption, he spotlighted the six activists who walked alongside him which included Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi, Executive Director of Jamaican LGBTQ+ rights charity J-Flag Glenroy Murray, the first openly gay athlete on India’s national team Dutee Chand, Zimbabwean activist Moud Goba, Micro Rainbow’s Prossy Kakooza and Jason Jones, Trinidadian LGBTQ+ advocate who successfully fought to decriminalise adult consensual same-sex intimacy in the country in 2018.

On Wednesday (27 July), the BBC announced that Tom would be fronting a new documentary, Tom Daley: Illegal to be Me, which will see the diver travel to countries in the Commonwealth that criminalise same-sex relations and meet with people to discuss what can be done about changing the laws. 

Tom Daley: Illegal to be Me will air on Tuesday 9 August at 9 pm.