CWG 2018

‘Illegal to be who I am’: Diving world champion Tom Daley urges change in same-sex laws

The Englishman pointed out that homosexuality was banned in as many as 37 commonwealth countries.

English world champion diver Tom Daley on Friday urged Commonwealth nations who outlaw homosexuality to relax their anti-gay stance.

Openly gay Daley, who is expecting a child with his partner through a surrogate, grasped the opportunity of his gold medal triumph in the 10-metres synchro event to push for change.

Daley, who won gold with team-mate Daniel Goodfellow, said homosexuality is criminalised in 37 Commonwealth countries. Daley voiced his concerns about the treatment of homosexuals in large parts of the Commonwealth, whose athletes are gathered on Australia’s Gold Coast for the ongoing Games.

“Hopefully, I know this might sound a bit political, but by the next Commonwealth Games (in Birmingham 2022), there are 37 countries in the Commonwealth where it’s currently illegal to be who I am, so hopefully we can reduce that number between now and then,” Daley told reporters.

“Coming to the Gold Coast and being able to live as an openly gay man is really important and to be able to feel comfortable in who you are when you are standing on that diving board.

“For 37 countries that are here participating that’s very much not the case.”

Daley said it was time for those Commonwealth countries to change their anti-gay laws. “You just have to face those things and try and make change,” he said.

“There are lots of things that are going to take a long time to change, but I feel with the Commonwealth I think we can really help push some of the other nations to relax their laws on anti-gay sex.”

Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg said his organisation was proud of its record on inclusivity.

“At the time of Glasgow 2014, 43 Commonwealth countries criminalised same sex activity, but today, that number has been reduced to 37,” Grevemberg said Friday.

“We hope that the Commonwealth sports movement is playing a meaningful role in the wider global conversation around tolerance, empowerment and legal recognition for all.”

Daley’s comments were backed by New Zealand boxer Alexis Pritchard, who wore rainbow socks in support of gay rights in her 57kg semi-final on Friday.

“I think it’s particularly sad that people cannot love who they want to love,” she told AFP.

“It’s important that each and every individual has rights to receive love and give love to the people that they choose.

“I find it absolutely sad that we are not open to that in so many nations.”

The penalties for private, consensual sexual conduct between same-sex adults remain harsh in a number of Commonwealth countries, including imprisonment, hard labour and in some cases flogging.

The Commonwealth countries that outlaw homosexuality include Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Tonga.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

Play

Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.