Tom Daley is taking a break from international competition but not from speaking out in support of fellow LGBTQ athletes.
During an appearance at Great Britain’s LGBT Awards, the Olympic gold medalist expressed his disgust about FINA’s recent policy change banning trans women from competing in women’s swimming events—including the Olympics.
“I was furious,” Daley recalled to iNews about his reaction to the policy change, “You know, like most queer people, anyone that’s told that they can’t compete or can’t do something they love just because of who they are, it’s not on. It’s something I feel really strongly about: giving trans people the chance to share their side.”
“It’s not on” is such a great British expression conveying a maximum amount of disdain in a minimum amount of verbiage. It’s an entire Nicki Minaj diss track condensed into three words.
And it’s important that one of the most famous and recognizable divers in the world is willing to take a public stand for the trans athlete community. Daley is one of the few athletes who has the power to take on FINA and he’s choosing to use his clout in a very public way.
Since Lia Thomas’s eligibility was possibly one of the inspirations behind FINA’s policy change, it’s also clear that Daley was standing up for her ability to compete even if he didn’t mention her by name.
All of this is in keeping with Daley’s commitment to vocal LGBTQ activism and social justice. When he was named an Officer of the British Empire in January, he remarked, “It is now my responsibility to try and help create change and help create this environment where everybody can be anything they want.”
Pushing back against the FINA governing body also echoes Daley’s repeated calls to ban countries with death penalties for LGTBQ people from the Olympics. He has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s willing to take on the most powerful entities in sports on behalf of our community.
Which is how Daley remains a world champion even in a year where he’s not competing.