Tom Daley has vowed to campaign for LGBT rights in Russia.
The celebrity diver spoke out after winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia’s Gold Coast – saying he wishes every diver, which ever country they are from and whatever sexuality, can have his freedoms.
The father-to-be, who is married to Hollywood filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, used the attention of his fourth Games title to call on the Commonwealth Games Federation to do more to pressurise those Commonwealth nations where homosexuality remains illegal.
36 of 53 member states still outlaw gay sex, a figure that fell from 37 after Trinidad and Tobago legalised the practice earlier this month.
Speaking to BBC journalist Nick Robinson, Daley said he intended to maintain his campaigning when competing in Russia.
Daley said: “I think the one thing that is the most powerful thing to do is go and compete and do the best I can, and just be who I am and compete at the highest level that I can.
“Speaking out can only do so much, but for me going there competing is a message that I want to urge other LGBT people to go and compete in Russia. It doesn’t matter about our sexual orientation.”
The 23-year-old athlete, who held a baby shower last weekend, said becoming a father has inspired him to be more forthright in his activism.
He said: “You want your child to grow up having an equal opportunity as everyone else that is born, whether they’re gay, straight, male, female, whatever religion you are, whatever ethnicity you are.
“I think that everyone should have the equal opportunity to do the best you can.”
Daley continued: “It changes your perspective on so many different levels. I was on the way home from Australia and there was turbulence, and normally I’m completely fine but I thought ‘I’ve got a little child to look after, I can’t die!’
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“The way you think about the world changes so dramatically.”
As well as being a dad-to-be, Daley opened up about another moment that helped spur his activism — sitting with his husband Dustin Lance Black during the Commonwealth Games.
Daley said: “I went for lunch with my husband and I was sitting there with a gold medal at the Commonwealth games and I thought how lucky am I to be sitting with my husband after winning a competition and not being worried about any ramifications or someone being able to throw me in prison.
“To know that 36 of the completing nations criminalise LGBT people so that if I was born in a different country I wouldn’t be able to compete truly as I am, it struck me in such a way i was mortified by it.
“I crafted a little sentence on my Instagram post and that was exactly what I was feeling in that moment.”
Addressing the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) last week, the Prime Minister apologised for Britain’s history of exporting anti-LGBT laws.
“I am all too aware that these laws were often put in place by my own country. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.
“As the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, I deeply regret the fact that such laws were introduced, and the legacy of discrimination, violence and even death that persists today.”