Tom Daley has said his life was ‘ruled by fear’ after revealing that he was gay.
The Olympic diver, 24, made public his sexuality in 2013 on YouTube, and also announced he was in a relationship with Dustin Lance Black.
With the pair now married and having recently welcomed their baby son, Daley revealed how terrified he was about telling people.
Speaking to Shortlist, he said: ‘My biggest concern when I came out was: what would the parents of young divers think?’ he admitted. ‘Would they discourage their kids from diving because a high-profile athlete like me was gay? I was so worried.’
Talking of his sexuality being public and competing in places like Russia as a gay man: ‘I skipped a competition in Russia in 2014,’ he revealed. ‘It was in the wake of my coming out.’
‘I thought it was too risky and unsafe. Then, when everyone got back, I really kicked myself for not going. I’d let other people rule by fear, and it weighed really heavily on me,’ he said.
Russia still have in place anti-gay laws prohibiting homosexuality. ‘It can be scary going to countries that aren’t accepting of LGBTQ+ people,’ he said.
‘I’ve competed in the Middle East, Russia, and parts of the Commonwealth, where being gay is punishable. ‘I feel extremely lucky being able to compete as I am without worrying about ramifications.’
Referring to his husband, Daley says he’s actually prohibited from entering the country: ‘My husband is blacklisted from Russia,’ he shared. ‘He did a big protest there with a massive rainbow flag, and after he screened his film Milk he started getting threats and attacks. So he’s not allowed back.’
But the Olympian reckons a person shouldn’t be defined by their sexuality alone: ‘The queer aspect of our community is all about refusing to define yourself and embrace the broad spectrum of sexuality,’ he said.
‘There’s so much more to LGBTQ people than who they’re having sex with, and seeing people explore their own [sexuality] and refusing labels is really exciting.’