Olympic diver Tom Daley delivered Channel 4’s alternative Christmas message this year, addressing the issue of homophobia in sports such as football.
He said how “incredibly lucky” he feels that his sport has supported him to live publicly as a gay man, but acknowledge not everyone in sport has the same backing.
He reflected on the first time a transgender athlete competed at the Olympics in Tokyo, and he applauded the achievements of such athletes “especially in the current climate of fear and panic around trans people”, and add that “there is no LGB without the T”.
He also tackled the absence of openly gay players in top flight football, saying that he feels ‘incredibly lucky’ that diving has supported him to live publicly as a gay man.
Speaking about the UK, he added: "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”.
He added: "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."
In 2022 the World Cup is being held in Qatar, the second most dangerous country for queer people, Qatar. "Why are we allowing places that aren’t safe for all fans and all players to host our most prestigious sporting events?," he asked.
The broadcaster’s director of programmes Ian Katz said: "Tom Daley’s Olympic triumph made him one of the faces of 2021 and we are delighted that he is using The Alternative Christmas Message as a platform to speak out and raise an issue close to his heart, and ours."
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