Exclusive: Tom Daley urges gay footballers to come out of the closet to be positive role models

Olympic Diver Tom Daley, right, and partner Dustin Lance Black pose for photographers on arrival at the GQ Magazine 30th Anniversary celebrations, in London, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP)
Olympic Diver Tom Daley, right, and partner Dustin Lance Black at the GQ Magazine 30th Anniversary celebrations, in London in 2018. (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP)

Tom Daley has urged gay football players to come out to demonstrate to young people that sexuality should not be an issue in sport.

The 25-year-old British diving champion - who is married to writer and director Dustin Lance Black with whom he shares a one-year-old son - released a video on YouTube in 2013 when he aged 19 revealing he was in a relationship with a man.

Daley told Yahoo UK: “I’m sure that in the world of sport there are people that are closeted and feel they can’t come out and feel trapped and I feel really bad for them because it’s such a weight on your shoulders to be living like that. Everyone is ready at different times and there is no right or wrong way to do it, it’s just a matter of being able to do it when you’re ready.

Read more: Tom Daley takes batch cooking baby food to Olympic level

“But knowing that people in sport, especially a high profile sport, if you were to come out and share your personal story it would help so many young children that look up to you - whether it be a football player or a rugby player - and think, ‘Oh wow! Who I am isn’t going to stop me being able to achieve my dreams in sport.’

“If anything, being slightly different and being that person can help you be stronger and deal with a lot of different pressures when it comes to competition.”

Daley - an ambassador for British Lion Eggs - has created a Pride power bowl recipe in celebration of LGBT Pride month.

The Olympic medalist admitted that before he came out he believed the world would end.

Daley said: “I think for anyone, whether they’re in sport or not, it is a daunting time to think about coming out and telling people about yourself and who you are.

“I built it up to be one of the craziest and scariest things and I thought the world is going to end, it’s this terrible event. It didn’t and I was like, ‘Oh okay that wasn’t so bad.’

Tom Daley during a photocall at the London Aquatics Centre in Stratford.
Tom Daley during a photocall at the London Aquatics Centre in Stratford (Credit: PA)

“I know that isn’t the same for everyone, I’m very lucky to have had that experience but i think there’s something really powerful about sharing your personal stories.

“Just being able to share personal stories can help change people’s hearts and when you change people’s hearts you change their minds and the way they think about things.”

Read more: Tom Daley’s husband hits out at British Swimming in buggy row

The diving champion said he was “baffled” by the recent spate of homophobic attacks in the UK.

Daley said: “It shocking to see in this day and age that things like that can happen.

“I think people should be lifting people up and celebrating differences.

“When people are attacking people for being different it just baffles me.”

Tom Daley is an ambassador for British Lion eggs. For recipe inspiration including Daley’s and more about the essential nutrients eggs contain visit eggrecipes.co.uk

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