Tom Daley: Illegal to Be Me: BBC One release date

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Tom Daley visits the most homophobic countries in the Commonwealth to explore the plight of gay athletes

Daley is a British jumper who won a gold medal in the 2020 synchronized 10m – he has also won three Olympic bronze medals and four golds and one silver in Commonwealth Games events.

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Tom Daley’s demonstration of support for the LGBTQ+ community at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

72 Commonwealth Games Associations attended the Games this year and Daley will travel to the most homophobic parts of the Commonwealth in his new documentary Tom Daley: Illegal to Be Me.

The film culminates with Tom taking a very public stand at this year’s opening ceremony, in a powerful statement against homophobia.

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Which countries does Tom Daley visit?

Daley visits Pakistan, a country where homosexuality is punished by the maximum penalty of stoning.

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Homosexual acts are forbidden under Pakistan’s Islamic laws, but there are no known cases of official executions for homosexual activities in the country.

Daley also travels to Jamaica, where the maximum sentence is ten years in prison with hard labour.

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Time magazine listed Jamaica as the most homophobic place on earth in 2006, and the Buggery Act imposed by England on Jamaica in 1861 is still in effect today, despite Jamaica gaining independence from Britain in 1962.

In the documentary, Daley speaks to athletes in these countries who are being persecuted for their sexuality.

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He also traces the impact that colonialism and slavery had on homophobic laws throughout the Commonwealth.

The documentary will also feature Daley’s appearance at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, where he represented the LGBTQ+ community.

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Where is it illegal to be gay?

There are 54 sovereign states in the Commonwealth and homosexuality is illegal in 35 of them.

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In many cases, laws banning homosexual activity were enacted during the colonial era and are seen as the ugly legacy of the British Empire.

However, since independence from Britain in the 20th century, every Commonwealth nation has had the power to legalize homosexual activity.

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Tom Daley with Carla Moore in Jamaica

Homosexuality is currently partially illegal in the following Commonwealth territories:

  • Mauritius
  • Sri Lanka
  • Cook Islands, New Zealand
  • Samoa
  • Malawi
  • Namibia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Eswatini
  • Barbados
  • Dominika
  • Jamaica
  • Granada
  • Guyana
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Singapore
  • Kiribati
  • nue
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Solomon Islands
  • Cameroon
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Bangladesh
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Pakistan
  • brunei

There are an estimated 69 countries in the world that criminalize homosexuality in some form and 10 that criminalize it with the death penalty.

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Commonwealth countries that have the death penalty as a penalty are Pakistan and Brunie (where it is not enforced) and northern Nigeria.

Homosexual acts are criminalized in the 12 northern Nigerian states that have Sharia law, and in June 2022 three men were sentenced to death by stoning by a Sharia court for same-sex sexual acts.

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When did Tom Daley come out as gay?

Tom Daley came out as gay in a YouTube video in December 2013.

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In the video, he said: “My life changed massively when I met someone and I felt so happy, so safe, and everything just feels amazing. And that someone is a guy

“It felt right and my whole world just changed on the spot.”

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Since his first outing, Daley has married screenwriter-director Dustin Lance Black, with whom he had a son through a surrogate mother.

When is it illegal to be me on TV?

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Tom Daley: Illegal to Be Me airs Tuesday 9 August at 9pm on BBC One. It will be available on BBC iPlayer shortly after it first airs.

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