Robert Hampton

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13th July 2014

Thorpe Lark
Posted by at 8.00pm | 2 responses | Gay, In the News

Finally, a Michael Parkinson interview that’s actually worth watching:

After years of denial, swimming champion Ian Thorpe has revealed he is gay in an exclusive interview with Sir Michael Parkinson. The five-time Olympic gold medallist and Australia’s most successful Olympic athlete to date, has revealed his sexuality in an interview to be aired on Australia’s Network Ten on Sunday night.

As ever, people are queuing up to declare that it was “obvious” and they’d always known. I would disagree that it was obvious, not least because in his 2012 autobiography Thorpe said, “For the record, I am not gay and all my sexual experiences have been straight.”

Thorpe now says that it is only recently he felt comfortable telling even close friends and family. “I’ve wanted to [come out] for some time. I didn’t feel I could. Part of me didn’t know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay.”

It’s perhaps understandable that he felt this way. Just this week, an Australian sports commentator has been criticised for referring to a player as “a big poofter” on air. The world of sport still has a way to go.

Thorpe has suffered from depression, which he attributes to the stress of hiding his sexuality for many years. I can well believe it; from personal experience, trying to deny, hide and suppress your homosexuality only leads to misery in the long-term. There are many factors to weigh up when deciding to come out of the closet, but I honestly believe most people are happier out than in.

So, well done Ian Thorpe. I’m sure gay Australian men will be only too eager to welcome you to the team… especially when you look like this:

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2 Responses
  1. Comment by Jamie
    13th July 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Lots of people seen online saying “oh, so what, nobody cares these days”.

    14-year-old me would’ve cared. I’d reckon that’s still true of today’s closeted 14-year-olds in dank rural areas.

  2. Comment by Steve
    14th July 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I reckon you’re right, Jamie, but, really, it’s nobody’s business but his. I don’t think I believed it when he claimed he was str8, but chances are that nobody believed me either.