Tom Daley: Illegal To Be Me documentary tonight on BBC One

Tom Daley fronts an important documentary on BBC One tonight.

Tom Daley: Illegal To Be Me will see the Olympic gold medallist and double world champion shining a light on an issue that he cares passionately about.

As the 2022 Commonwealth Games take place in Birmingham, some of the competitors live in fear of horrific brutality inside the countries they represent. With punishments including whipping, life imprisonment and even death, it is illegal to be gay in over half of the 56 member states of the Commonwealth.

Tom Daley in Jamaica.
Tom Daley in Jamaica.

In Tom Daley: Illegal To Be Me, Tom will visit some of the Commonwealth’s most homophobic countries to ask what the sporting world can do to help.

The BBC share: “Travelling from Pakistan, where homosexuality carries a maximum penalty of death by stoning, to Jamaica, where the punishment is 10 years’ imprisonment with hard labour, Tom talks to top male and female sportspeople facing persecution.

“With many speaking under the protection of total anonymity, they bravely reveal the extreme danger and vigilante violence that gay and lesbian athletes face if their sexuality is exposed, telling harrowing personal stories of their own.”

The one-hour special will also see Tom speak to advocates fighting for change and meet LGBT+ experts before submitting a manifesto of action points to the Commonwealth Games Federation. Written with contributions from LGBT+ people across the Commonwealth, it aims to create meaningful, long-lasting change that ensures major sporting competitions are open to, and safe for, everyone.

The film will conclude as Tom delivers a powerful speech, accompanied by some of the athletes and advocates he met on his journey, at 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

Tom Daley said: “I’ve experienced homophobia all my life, competing in countries where it’s illegal to be me and where I don’t feel safe to leave the venue I’m competing in. If I feel like that as a privileged man, I can’t imagine what day-to-day life is like for LGBT+ people around the Commonwealth.

“So along with some of these inspirational people, we’re working on a campaign that we wanted to be more than just something you see in a documentary that you watch for an hour and then move on. We wanted it to be something that actually makes a difference.

“LGBT+ athletes must be safe and feel comfortable being their authentic selves without fear of persecution or death. The CGF has been willing to talk and willing to hear what we have to say, and it’s good to see they’ve started taking a stance towards more inclusion. Along with incredible LGBT+ people around the Commonwealth, we will make a difference.

“The Commonwealth Games Federation can be a shining example to other sporting organisations that sports really can be for everyone and with the pull power sports has, we can hopefully influence change to horrendous human rights laws that exist in so many countries around the world.”

Tom Daley: Illegal To Be Me airs on BBC One and iPlayer on Tuesday 9 August at 9PM

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