English diver Tom Daley carried the Queen's Baton into the Alexander Stadium accompanied by six pride flagbearers ©Getty Images

Activist Jason Jones, who walked alongside Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley at last night's Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony here, has declared the support for LGBTQ+ rights in the Commonwealth on display "a very big victory".

Jones successfully fought to decriminalise adult consensual same-sex intimacy in his home country of Trinidad and Tobago in 2018, and was one of six activists carrying pride flags who accompanied Daley as he carried the Queen's Baton into the Alexander Stadium.

English diver Daley used the platform to protest against attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community across the Commonwealth.

Homosexuality is still criminalised in 35 of the 56 Commonwealth member states, but Jones believes Birmingham 2022 has provided an important platform for LGBTQ+ inclusion.

"The fact that we are now included and we can be openly ourselves at the Games is a big step forward," Jones told insidethegames.

"I met two lesbian women who had sown pride flags onto their uniform, and that wasn't allowed before, and you could tell just how proud they were to be able to do that.

"So the visibility is just enormous, and it really starts to shift how we are viewed by our society, so it is a very big moment.

"It's so important that the organisers of sporting events allow queer LGBT visibility, because that's how you shift things in countries where we are marginalised and silenced by laws.

"Unfortunately all of these laws came from our British colonial past, so it's really important to get into people's living rooms and be able to show ourselves and be proud of ourselves."

Jason Jones said Tom Daley, furthest right, was
Jason Jones said Tom Daley, furthest right, was "the driving force in getting all of this to happen" ©Getty Images

Jones also highlighted the significance of Daley's message delivered at the Opening Ceremony.

"I think it was just one of the biggest moments for all of us as activists, to have that platform of half a billion people," he said.

"Sports is a very big thing for many of us in the Commonwealth, so it's huge.

"All of us were very emotional, and the feedback from the audience was just lovely, so it was a very big moment for us all."

The four-time Commonwealth Games diving gold medallist is not competing in Birmingham, but received special praise from Jones for his work advocating LGBTQ+ rights.

"I really want to commend Tom Daley, because Tom was really the driving force in getting all of this to happen, and we must recognise that he used his privilege and his power and his notoriety to be able to lift up the voices of other activists around the Commonwealth, so he really is to be applauded for doing that," Jones commented.

Jones successfully challenged Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offenses Act in court in Trinidad and Tobago.

He insisted that victories including the message of support for the LGBTQ+ community across the Commonwealth at the Opening Ceremony should be celebrated.

"I'm of a certain age so I've seen huge shifts, and of course I was part of changing things in my home country Trinidad and Tobago, but these are all building blocks," Jones said.

"It’s a slow progression towards full equality.

"I think what we must do when we have things that happen like last night is take time to celebrate our victories, and last night was a very big victory for LGBTQ+ people of the Commonwealth."

However, Pride House Birmingham's East Asian ambassador Amazin LeThi called for a more concerted push for change in countries of her region.

"When you have a visual element, you have to think internationally and make sure everyone is at the table," LeThi told insidethegames.

"The disappointment was that not one East Asian country was represented, many have horrendous anti-LGBT laws."

Jones was joined by Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi, Zimbabwean activist Moud Goba, J-Flag executive director Glenroy Murray, Micro Rainbow’s Prossy Kakooza and the first openly gay athlete on India's national team Dutee Chand as flagbearers accompanying Daley at the Opening Ceremony.