Watch: Tom Daley, Awarded Top British Honor, Wants to Make Things Better for LGBTQ+ People

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday January 3, 2022

Out diving champ Tom Daley, having been appointed the Order of the British Empire (OBE) — one of Britain's highest honors — says he will work to make things better for LGBTQ+ people, UK newspaper the Independent reported.

"The sports star, who achieved his long-held ambition by winning gold at the delayed Toyko 2020 games, was made an OBE for services to diving, to LGBTQ+ rights, and to charity, having been an ambassador for the gay community alongside his sporting endeavors," the newspaper relayed.

In an interview with a BBC program, Daley, 27, said that, having been bestowed the honor, "I feel it's almost like a responsibility to make the whole Commonwealth a better place for LGBT people, for women, for people of color, to make it a more inclusive and more accepting environment."

Daley went on to add that he feels it's incumbent on him to work so that marginalized people can "be anything that they want, no matter where they came from," and added that it's "important to be able to lift up all of the people that feel like they're outsiders, feel like they don't fit in, and feel like they have been 'less than' for so many years, to support them in being whatever they want to be."

In his recently published memoir "Coming Up for Air," Daley described his own struggles, documenting how he suffered from body image issues and bulimia.

Last summer, after winning the gold medal, Daley spoke to the press about his sense of otherness and alienation as a younger man growing up gay. The athlete recalled a period in which he felt "alone, and different, and didn't fit in," and recounted: "I thought that I was never going to be anything or achieve anything because of who I was."

Once his hard work and talent brought him the gold, though, Daley was able to announce, "I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion," and to send out an important message to LGBTQ+ youth — namely, "you can achieve anything."

To see the BBC clip, follow this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.