British Olympic diver Tom Daley will be the recipient of the inaugural George Takei Advocate Award.
Takei, who has been a vocal advocate for the advancement of LGBTQ-plus rights since coming out as gay in 2005, is the inspiration for the award to be given to Daley at the 50th-anniversary gala of PFLAG (formerly Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in New York on March 3.
PLAG bills itself as the “first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families.”
According to the organization, the George Takei Advocate Award “honors a person who uses their visibility to help advance PFLAG’s work to create a caring, just, and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.”
In 2018, Takei was awarded PFLAG’s Betty DeGeneres Advocate Award, named after Ellen DeGeneres’ mother, for his advocacy.
In a message, Takei expressed his pride and support for Daley being the first recipient of the award named after him.
I first met Tom in 2019 in New York. This was before he competed for and won his Olympic Gold Medal, before he was named to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and before his powerful BBC documentary “Illegal to Be Me,” but after he had become a parent. It was clear then that Tom knew his role would forever be to make this world a better, more affirming place for LGBTQ+ people and families. I am honored to lend my name to an award from PFLAG National that recognizes the courage to advocate for LGBTQ+ people, and I am proud that Tom Daley will be the first to receive it.
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A PFLAG representative told HuffPost that the award recognizes public figures who use their platform to “create a caring, just, and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.”
Daley described being the first to receive the award as “a huge milestone.”
“Being yourself in the spotlight isn’t easy,” the 28-year-old athlete was quoted as saying. “Leaders like George Takei and PFLAG have paved the way and given LGBTQ+ people the tools and resources to advocate for ourselves and for our community.”
Daley, who first publicly revealed his sexual identity via YouTube in 2013, won gold at the men’s synchronized 10-meter platform at the 2020 Tokyo Games in 2021. In 2017, he married Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. The pair have a 4-year-old son, Robert Ray Black-Daley.
In an earlier interview with HuffPost, Daley shared the struggles he faced before and after coming out.
I think it’s important, if you’re a visible, queer person, to try and help other people and not just sit with your privilege. I was so scared. I was so worried about losing sponsors. My dad had died a couple of years before that, and I wanted to still be able to support my family. When people are telling you that you might lose sponsors, of course, it’s going to scare you into staying in the closet for longer than you’d want to.
Hosted by comedian Amber Ruffin, the event will have appearances by actors Rose Abdoo and Tati Gabrielle, as well as “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Eureka.
Other awardees include rapper Big Freedia, who will receive the Breaking Barriers Award, and food company Mondelēz International, which will be presented the Straight for Equality in the Workplace Award