British Olympic hero Tom Daley was honoured with an OBE and vowed to promote inclusion regarding LGBTQ+ rights around the world.
Daley was recognised in the New Year’s Honours List after a sensational year for the diver both in and out of the pool.
Daley is being honoured for services to the sport, charity, and LGBT+ rights after he finally won an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games back in July.
The 27-year-old and partner Matty Lee dramatically defeated Chinese duo Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen to secure first place in the men’s synchronised 10 metres platform, winning gold by just 1.23 points.
“I’m extremely proud to be honoured with an OBE and it feels like a responsibility to make the whole Commonwealth a better place for LGBT people, for women, for people of colour,” Daley told the BBC.
“In accepting this OBE, it’s now my responsibility to try and help create change, and help create this environment where anyone can be who they want, no matter where they came from.”
Lee was awarded an MBE himself, but Daley stole headlines and inspired as he spoke out against oppression against the LGBTQ+ community.
“Accepting an OBE is one thing but accepting it and doing something with it [it is another],” Daley added. “I feel it’s really important to lift up all the people who feel like they’re outsiders and don’t fit in and feel like they have been ‘less than’ for so many years – to support them in being what they want to be.”
Daley could attend his fifth Olympics at the Paris 2024 Games, picking up one gold and three bronze medals.
Channel 4 / Richard Ansett)
He was one of a record number of LGBTQ+ athletes in Tokyo, and the Brit believes international acceptance of such matters is still some way off.
“It’s come a long way,” Daley said after collecting bronze in the men’s 10m platform. “There’s still a lot further to go. There are 10 countries that are competing at these Olympic Games where being LGBT is punishable by death.
“I feel extremely lucky to be representing Team GB, to be able to stand on the diving board as myself with a husband and a son and not worry about any ramifications.
“But I know that I’m very fortunate to have that and that there are lots of people who grow up around the world with less fortunate situations.”