New Delhi: Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, who was India’s first openly gay athlete, held the LGBTQIA+ flag at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham. British diver Tom Daley shared a picture of the seven LGBTQ+ athletes and activists who held the pride flag on social media.
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Along with Dutee and Daley, Nigeria’s Bisi Alimi, Jamaica’s Glenroy Murray, Zimbabwe’s Moud Goba, Jason Jones from Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda’s Prossy Kakooza were also present there. They took this initiative as in over half of the Commonwealth countries, homosexuality is still a crime and in 3 of the countries, the maximum penalty is the death sentence. According to Tom Daley, these laws are a legacy of colonial rule.
Sending a message against homophobia, Dutee Chand told PTI, “LGBT+ athletes should be made to feel safe and comfortable, being their usual selves without fear of persecution or death.” Spending a few months with Daley boosted Chand’s confidence and she told that they danced and had fun, she also got a chance to meet Prince Charles. Dutee added, “I didn’t interact much as I hardly speak English but he told me not to get scared and ‘I’m your biggest follower.’ It really boosted my confidence as we did some jig. Such a lovely memory.”
Dutee received an invitation from the Commonwealth Games 2022 officials to be the brand ambassador and join the four-time Commonwealth gold medal winner Daley. She will be competing in the women’s 100 m on day 5 at 5:15 pm. Apart from her solo event, she is also a part of India’s 4×100 m women’s relay team.