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British Olympian & LGBTQ+ rights advocate to use OBE to further equality

“Accepting this OBE it’s now my responsibility to help create change & help create this environment where everybody can be anything they want”

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Tom Daley (Screenshot via BBC Breakfast)

LONDON – When the annual Queen’s New Year Honor’s List was released this past Friday, among the honorees was British gold medalist, Olympian diver Tom Daley, who was bestowed with an Order of the British Empire for his work raising awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, in addition to his Olympic diving accomplishments.

In an interview on the BBC news show BBC Breakfast, Daley said; “I’m extremely proud to be honoured with an OBE,” then added he felt “a responsibility to make the whole Commonwealth a better place for LGBTQ+ people, for women, for people of colour, to make it a more inclusive and accepting environment”.

“With accepting this OBE it’s now my responsibility to help create change and help create this environment where everybody can be anything that they want, no matter where they came from.”

The Order of the British Empire rewards contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organizations, and public service outside the British government’s civil service which also includes the Commonwealth countries.

The British champion diver has long publicly expressed his condemnation of those nations and called for changes in the sports community’s stance on affirmation and action on behalf of the global LGBTQ+ community.

Appearing in a pre-recorded ‘Alternative Christmas Message,’ an annual holiday tradition of UK media giant Channel 4, Daley noted; “In 2022 the World Cup is being held in the second most dangerous country for queer people, Qatar. Why are we allowing places that aren’t safe for ALL fans and ALL players to host our most prestigious sporting events?” the diver said according to a press release.

He pointed out that those same countries shouldn’t be able to host Olympic games either- then he called out the upcoming World Cup in Qatar;

The World Cup coming up in Qatar has extreme rules against LGBT people and women and I think it should not be allowed for a sporting event to host in a country that criminalizes against basic human rights,” he said.

In his Channel 4 message, Daley says he is “incredibly lucky” that his sport has supported him to live as an openly gay man, but he acknowledges not everyone in sport has the same backing. Using the platform to raise an issue close to his heart he speaks of homophobia in sport, particularly football.

Daley addressed the need for a culture change in football, saying, ‘if I had one Christmas wish it would be that next year that changes. That one impossibly brave Premier League player steps forward and says, ‘I am gay’. That person would inspire gay people everywhere, give hope to thousands of teenagers struggling with their sexuality and save the lives of countless young people who don’t currently feel like they have a place in this world.”.

He summarized by saying “We can make this country the most accepting, the most inclusive, the most progressive country on Earth. What if in Britain anybody could be anything regardless of where they started? What if we all started from the same place. Now wouldn’t that be something to be proud of?”

Daley told an audience at the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards held at The Roundhouse Theatre in Central London this past October that the Olympic Games should ban those nations. In his speech accepting the 2021 Attitude Magazine Foundation’s Virgin Atlantic Attitude Sport Award, the 27-year-old champion diver said: “These past Olympic Games there were more out LGBT athletes than at any of the previous Olympics combined, which is a great step forward,” Daley said. “Yet there are still 10 countries that punish being gay with death that were still allowed to compete at the Olympic Games.”

I want to make it my mission before the Paris Olympics in 2024 to make it so that the countries that criminalize and make it punishable by death for LGBT people are not allowed to compete at the Olympic Games,” Daley said.

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Mavericks’ Reggie Bullock, finalist for NBA award for LGBTQ+ advocacy

The NBA announced this week the guard-forward is one of the finalists for its 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award

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Reggie Bullock (Dallas Mavericks/YouTube)

DALLAS – While San Francisco is celebrating the Golden State Warriors’ huge Wednesday night Game 1 victory over the Mavericks in the NBA Western Conference Finals, LGBTQ groups in Dallas are cheering on Dallas’s Reggie Bullock for his work off the court. 

The NBA announced this week the guard-forward is one of the finalists for its 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award, which honors players who have made strides in fighting for social justice and advocating for equality.

Other finalists include the Milwaukee Bucks’s Jrue Holiday, the Memphis Grizzlies’s Jaren Jackson Jr., the Minnesota Timberwolves’s Karl-Anthony Towns and the Toronto Raptors’s Fred VanVleet.

The NBA said Bullock’s push for LGBTQ equity stems from the 2014 murder of his sister, Mia Henderson, a transgender woman.

“Bullock has focused on acceptance of all people by working to create truly inclusive communities through neighborhood engagement and national efforts around the LGBTQ movement, including participating in the NYC Pride March, the GLAAD Media Awards, and NBA events for LGBTQ youth and allies,” according to an NBA news release. “Most recently, as part of the Mavs Take ACTION! initiative, Bullock participated in a courageous conversation as part of the HUDDLE series to uplift the trans community, amplify community organizations who are working to support and protect LGBTQ individuals, and create opportunities for allyship.”

Since joining the Mavs a year ago, Bullock, 31, has teamed-up with groups that include Abounding Prosperity, Dallas Southern Pride, House of Rebirth, The Black-Tie Dinner, the Resource Center, as well as the Muhlaysia Booker Foundation. That organization was founded in memory of a trans woman murdered in Dallas.

On this year’s International Day of Trans Visibility, March 31, Bullock joined the founder of the Muhlashia Booker Foundation, Stephanie Houston, and Leslie McMurray, Transgender Education & Advocacy Associate for a session titled, Voices Unheard, Uplifting Trans Perspectives. 

He shared memories of his sister Mia and how her murder motivated him to use his platform as an NBA player to fight for equal rights and visibility for the LGBTQ+ community.

Bullock has also started his own charitable organization, RemarkaBULL, which provides housing and support to members of the LGBTQ+ community in need. Through RemarkaBULL, Bullock wrote an open letter to the NCAA protesting Idaho’s anti-trans student-athlete House Bill 500, which was signed into law by Gov. Brad Little in March of 2020. The law is on hold pending a review by a federal court.

The winner of the Social Justice Award will be announced during the Western Conference Finals, now underway. The winner receives $100,000 donated to the charity of their choice, and the other finalists receive $25,000 donations for their organizations. Bullock’s charity of choice is Kinston Teens, which empowers young people to engage in activism and community development.

In Wednesday night’s Western Conference Final game 1, Bullock scored 12 points, shooting 3/10 3-pt and 3 rebounds in the Mavericks’ 87-112 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Game 2 is set to tip off Friday at 9 p.m. ET, Golden State leads 1-0.

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Blackpool’s Jake Daniels- First Out UK pro soccer player in 30 years

The Blackpool FC forward joins with Justinus Soni “Justin” Fashanu as the only two footballers to declare themselves openly Out

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Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels/Blackpool FC UK

BLACKPOOL, Lancashire, England – A seventeen-year-old professional soccer player has made history as only the second person in the past 30 years to acknowledge their sexual orientation publicly in the sport in the United Kingdom.

Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels joins with Justinus Soni “Justin” Fashanu as the only two footballers to declare themselves openly Out. Fashanu had come out in an exclusive with The Sun tabloid newspaper on October 22, 1990 and later retired in 1997. He later passed away in London in May 1998.

Daniels made his announcement via a statement released by the team on its webpage:

“This season has been a fantastic one for me on the pitch. I’ve made my first-team debut, scored 30 goals for the youth team, signed my first professional contract and shared success with my team-mates, going on a great run in the FA Youth Cup and lifting the Lancashire FA Pro-Youth Cup. 

But off the pitch I’ve been hiding the real me and who I really am. I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself.

It’s a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality, but I’ve been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to have the courage and determination to drive change.        

In reaching this point, I’ve had some of the best support and advice from my family, my Club, my agent and Stonewall, who have all been incredibly pro-active in putting my interests and welfare first. I have also confided in my team-mates in the youth team here at Blackpool, and they too have embraced the news and supported my decision to open up and tell people.   

I’ve hated lying my whole life and feeling the need to change to fit in. I want to be a role model myself by doing this.

There are people out there in the same space as me that may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality. I just want to tell them that you don’t have to change who you are, or how you should be, just to fit in.

You being you, and being happy, is what matters most.

Jake”

The team itself also noted:

“Blackpool Football Club has worked closely with Stonewall and the relevant footballing organisations to support Jake and is incredibly proud that he has reached a stage where he is empowered to express himself both on-and-off the pitch.

It is vital that we all promote an environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves, and that football leads the way in removing any form of discrimination and prejudice.”

The largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organisation in the UK, Stonewall tweeted:

Blackpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in seaside resort of Blackpool on the Irish Sea coast of England.

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LA Dodgers to wear special Pride caps in 2 games next month

A matchup with the Giants will be the first time 2 Major League Baseball teams wear the rainbow logo on the field

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LOS ANGELES – For this year’s LGBTQ+ Night, the players wearing Dodger Blue will also have the colors of Pride on their caps. The Dodgers announced Monday that on the night of June 3, when the team hosts the New York Mets, the players will wear custom caps that infuse the famous L.A. logo with the colors of the Progress Pride flag. 

And that’s not all. When the Dodgers visit San Francisco’s Oracle Park for the Giants’ Pride Day game, the two teams will make LGBTQ sports history: On June 11, both the Dodgers and Giants will wear caps with their custom rainbow logo on the field, the first time two MLB teams will take to the diamond in Pride gear. 

“I am incredibly proud to share this news,” said Dodgers senior VP of marketing, communication and broadcasting, Erik Braverman, the out gay baseball executive who wed his husband at Dodger Stadium in January. He shared the news with Instagram followers Monday. “We have been working hard behind the scenes to make this happen and this is the year it will take place. The Dodgers and Giants are true leaders when it comes to equality and inclusion! 🏳️‍🌈 “

“The Los Angeles Dodgers are proud to stand with and recognize the LGBTQ+ community in Los Angeles and globally,” said Dodgers president and CEO, Stan Kasten, in a statement. “The Dodgers have a history of breaking barriers and we’re proud to be a part of another chapter in MLB history as the Dodgers and Giants each wear their team’s pride caps on June 11. While our organizations have a long-storied rivalry on the field, we stand together when it comes to equality for all.”

Courtesy of the LA Dodgers/MLB

By purchasing a special ticket package to the June 3 game at Dodger Stadium, fans will receive an exclusive commemorative Dodger LGBTQ+ game jersey featuring the team logo emblazoned in the traditional Pride flag colors. 

All fans will be treated to appearances by special guests including MMA trailblazer Fallon Fox, retired out gay umpire Dale Scott and MLB senior VP of diversity, equity and inclusion, Billy Bean, the commissioner’s special assistant. Other Pride activities will take place during and prior to its ninth annual LGBTQ+ Night game. That includes drink specials in the pavilion bars, a special recognition of frontline workers from Los Angeles’ LGBTQ+ community and Friday Night Fireworks, set to music mixed by DJ Bowie Jane, a Dodgers LGBTQ+ Night regular. The Singapore-born Wils is slated to sing the National Anthem. 

“The Dodgers annual Pride Night has become one of the most anticipated nights of the season,” Braverman added. “I am incredibly proud to have the added element of the on-field caps this year. I look forward to sharing these historic games with members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation promises to donate 50% of the proceeds of a  50/50 raffle to The Los Angeles LGBT Center, the world’s largest provider of programs and services for LGBT individuals.

Last year, as the L.A. Blade reported, the Giants made MLB history as the first baseball team to wear Pride colors in a game, with a custom rainbow logo patch on their uniforms. 

Giants manager Gabe Kaplan spoke to Outsports about the new history his team and the Dodgers will be making on June 11. 

“It is an honor to be a part of this moment,” Kapler said. “I hope everyone watching the game on June 11 sees the clear statement being made — we stand for equality and respect of all people, regardless of sexual orientation. Wearing the Pride logo is both a reminder of the discrimination the LGBTQ+ community faces and the importance of supporting and creating a more inclusive environment.”

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