Tom Daley showed his support for the transgender community and expressed his hope for a Premier League footballer to come out in a Christmas message.
In this year’s Alternate Christmas Message, which airs on Channel 4 on 25 December and offers a different stance to the Queen’s message, the Olympian speaks out against countries with governments hostile to the LGBTQ+ community hosting major sporting events.
“In 2022 the World Cup is being held in the second most dangerous country on Earth for queer people, Qatar,” Tom says. “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 honour. Why are we honouring them? Holding a Formula One grand prix is an honour. Why are we honouring Saudi Arabia?”
In an open letter and video posted on 27 October, Josh Cavallo shared that he is gay – making him the only openly gay male top-flight professional footballer.
“Well done Josh, I mean, your courage is amazing,” Tom tells the footballer in his speech. “But just think for a moment about the number of players who are too scared to speak up, and how lonely that must be.”
Tom goes on to state that his “one Christmas wish” is for a Premier League player to come out as gay.
He says: “Nearly 7% of people in the UK identify as gay or bisexual and there are about 500 Premier League players. That means statistically there are enough players for three football teams running out on to that pitch every week.
“At least one gay man at every single club in the Premier League, living a lie. So, if I had one Christmas wish it would be that next year, that changes. That one impossibly brave Premier League player steps forward and says ‘I am gay’.
“That person would inspire gay people everywhere, give hope to thousands of teenagers struggling with their sexuality and save the lives of countless young people who don’t currently feel like they have a place in this world.”
Elsewhere in his message, the diver called for solidarity with the transgender community – especially those partaking in sport.
“The fact that they achieved this in the current climate of fear and panic around trans people, makes their achievements all the more impressive,” Tom tells viewers. “There is no LGB without the T.”
Tom previously won two bronze medals at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, as well as a third at Tokyo 2020.
He first competed in the Olympics in Beijing back in 2008 aged just 14-years-old.
His Olympic gold medal joins his European, World and Commonwealth gold titles, completing a set for a diver at the top-most level of the sport.