Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Christian Right Group: 'Turning Gay' Hurt Tom Daley at Olympics

Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black

A U.K. conservative Christian group is saying that “turning gay” hurt British diver Tom Daley’s Olympic performance and that gold medal-winning South African runner Caster Semenya is not a woman.

Christian Voice released these tweets Saturday, after Daley finished 18th in the men’s 10-meter diving event, failing to qualify for the finals. The “older man” it refers to is most likely Daley’s fiancé, Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

It should be noted that the Rio Games weren’t entirely a washout for Daley; early on, he won a bronze medal, along with Dan Goodfellow, in the men’s 10-meter synchronized dive. And he performed impressively in the preliminaries for the 10-meter solo.

Supporters of Daley quickly responded with denunciations of Christian Voice, with some even wondering if its tweets were the work of a parody site, notes LGBTQ Nation — but it is a real organization.

Among those who called out Christian Voice were best-selling author J.K. Rowling:

And Stewart McDonald, a member of the U.K. Parliament, who happens to be gay:

Last week Christian Voice ran a piece on its website headlined “Sorry Caster Semenya, You Aren’t a Woman.” At issue is Semenya’s testosterone level, which is higher than the average for women, and got her subjected to gender testing a few years ago. But testosterone is only one of many factors that can affect an athlete’s performance, and it is unclear how much of an effect it has. Still, the group said Semenya should not be allowed to compete against “true women” and that by doing so she was defying God.

Well, no matter — Semenya won gold in the women’s 800-meter race Saturday. Still, Christian Voice has continued to denounce her, saying on Twitter Sunday that it would be right for women's events to exclude her. The group also sent out a recent tweet denying the legitimacy of the marriages of athletes of the same sex. (Its piece on Semenya points to her marriage to a woman as evidence that she is not really a woman.) The gold medal win for Britain's women's field hockey team marked the first time a married same-sex couple had medaled.

The group received some more spot-on responses, such as this one from British author Sally Abbott:.


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