Tom Daley wants homophobic countries banned from Olympics

Olympian Tom Daley attends the 2021 Met Gala in a black outfit

British diver Tom Daley said it’s his “mission” to stop countries where being LGBT+ is punishable by death from competing in the Olympics.

Daley, who won his first gold medal at the Tokyo games this year, declared he will campaign to have countries that carry the death penalty for LGBT+ people banned from the Olympics as he accepted the Sport Awards at the 2021 Attitude Awards.

“I think it’s really important to try and create change, rather than just highlighting or shining a light on those things,” Daley said.

He continued: “So I want to make it my mission over the next, well, hopefully before the Paris Olympics in 2024, to make it so that the countries criminalise and [where it’s] punishable by death for LGBT people are not allowed to compete at the Olympic Games.”

He pointed out there were more out LGBT athletes at the Tokyo games than at “any of the previous Olympics combined, which is a great step forward”. However, Daley said there are “still 10 countries that punish being gay with death that were still allowed to compete at the Olympic games”.

The openly gay athlete added those same countries shouldn’t be allowed to host the international sporting event before calling out the upcoming 2022 World Cup, which is being held in Qatar.

“The World Cup coming up in Qatar has extreme rules against LGBT people and about women, and I think it should not be allowed for a sporting event to host in a country that criminalises against basic human rights,” Daley said.

“So, that is going to be my mission now to try and change that.”

Team GB's Tom Daley poses with bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Team GB’s Tom Daley poses with bronze medal after the ceremony for the men’s 10m platform final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on 7 August 2021. (Getty/Clive Rose)

There are 11 jurisdictions that impose the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual activity, according to the Human Dignity Trust. This includes Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Pakistan and Qatar.

Homosexuality is completely outlawed in Qatar and is punishable by imprisonment, flogging or the death penalty under Sharia Law. A 2021 Forbes article declared the Middle Eastern country as the eighth most dangerous country in the world for LGBT+ people.

After much pushback, the Qatari government decided in 2020 that it would allow Pride flags in stadiums after it said it would comply with FIFA rules promoting tolerance and inclusion at matches.

However, Nasser Al-Khater, 2022 World Cup chief executive, told the Associated Press that the country will still expect visitors to “respect our culture”.