British Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley has shared his dismay that professional sports leagues continue to hold events in countries that persecute LGBTQ+ people.
“In 2022, the World Cup is being held in the second most dangerous country for queer people, Qatar,” Daley said in a press release about the prerecorded ‘Alternative Christmas Message’ for UK station Channel 4. “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 honor. Why are we honoring them? Holding a Formula 1 grand prix is an honor. Why are we honoring Saudi Arabia?”
The holiday message, which will be released on Christmas day, wasn’t the first time that Daley, who is gay, spoke out about the issue. At the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards in October, Daley also brought up the issue.
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“These past Olympic Games, there were more out LGBT athletes than at any of the previous Olympics combined, which is a great step forward,” said Daley. “Yet there are still 10 countries that punish being gay with death that were still allowed to compete at the Olympic Games. … I want to make it my mission before the Paris Olympics in 2024 to make it so that the countries that criminalize and make it punishable by death for LGBT people are not allowed to compete at the Olympic Games.”
Though being LGBTQ+ isn’t punishable by death in America, queer people still do not get full equal rights in many parts of the U.S., including right here in Michigan. In a Michigan case, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed an amicus brief earlier this month to move the needle on LGBTQ+ rights in the state. Whitmer’s brief says that she believes the state’s Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on “sex” and that sex, in this instance, includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
“The governor’s brief urges the Michigan Supreme Court to overrule erroneous past precedent,” said John LoPorto of the Public Affairs Department of the Governor’s office. “Governor Whitmer has been a champion of the LGBTQ community since her days in the state legislature. Under her administration, Michigan has taken an immense leap forward to equality, and I look forward to what is in store for the future.”