The Olympic medalist Tom Daley recently admitted that his sexuality made him feel out of place and different from his peers while growing up, but also revealed that it only fueled his drive to succeed.
The 24-year-old said on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs weekend program that he realised he was different from mates from secondary school.
During his conversation with first-time host Lauren Laverne, Daley shared his childhood experience on Sunday saying; he got bullied at school after participating in the 2018 Olympic Games. His experience growing up in Plymouth made him “less than” every other person because “it wasn’t socially acceptable to like boys and girls.”
The British diver said, “To this day, those feelings of feeling less than, and feeling different, have been the real things that have given me the power and strength to be able to succeed.”
The two-time medalist who consistently used his platform for creating awareness for the LGBT+ rights said, he’s queer rather than “100 per cent straight” or “100 per cent gay.”
He went as far as calling out anti-LGBT laws in the commonwealth moments after he won a gold medal at the Commonwealth’s in Australia in April. He also had a Pride badge on, on the podium in May when competing in Russia.
Daley voices his opinion on LGBT+ issues to give others “hope”. That was the specific word he used during the program. He associated “Proud”, his first song choice by Heather Small with his Olympic performance at 2012 even in London. He went further to discuss how becoming a father changed his view on his career as well as his participation that is set to happen in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
The swimmer is married to a filmmaker Dustin Lance Black who is a US filmmaker and has won an Academy Award for the 2008 film Milk.
They both have a son, Robert Ray Black-Daley, who was born on June 27.
The duo faced constant criticism and homophobia because they chose to have a baby through a surrogate rather than settling for adoption. Daley noted his surprise at the remarks made towards their choice of having a child, pointing out that it wouldn’t have been the same with heterosexual couples.
“If you had asked me last year,” said Daley,” it was all about ‘I need to win a gold medal”. However, his perception has changed, and he made this known when he said, “You know what; there are bigger things than Olympic gold medals. My Olympic gold medal is Robbie.”
Daley also discussed in a previous interview, how being a father affected his advocacy for LGBT+ rights.
“You want your child to grow up having an equal opportunity as everyone else that is born, whether they’re gay, straight, male, female, whatever religion you are, whatever ethnicity you are,” he said. “I think that everyone should have the equal opportunity to do the best you can.”