Ian Thorpe’s coming out is not about us

Ben Pobjie Columnist

By Ben Pobjie, Ben Pobjie is a Roar Expert


45 Have your say

    Thorpey was one of many Aussies to gain experience at the Commonwealth Games. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    I remember when Ian Thorpe announced his retirement – the first time. I was listening to talkback radio, and I was struck by how many people were treating his decision to call it a day at a relatively young age as some sort of personal betrayal.

    The sense of entitlement was palpable: it was clear there was a widespread belief that Thorpe ‘owed’ us something, and was chucking in the towel before settling this debt.

    It was as if the man was our property, and by deciding that after many years of single-mindedly pushing his body to the very limits of physical possibility, he had somehow stolen himself from us.

    It was as if, having dedicated his entire adult life – and a hefty slab of his pre-adult life – to the obsessive pursuit of the black line at the bottom of a pool, he had thereby forfeited the right to do anything else.

    We, the proprietary public, the nation of spread-bellied sofa-slugs which had convinced itself that these extraordinary achievements borne of individual talent, determination and self-sacrifice were in some way our own, weren’t ready to give him permission to cast off the yoke we’d placed on him.

    If ever a man was taught from an early age that his life was not his own, it’s Ian James Thorpe.

    There has already been too much written about Ian Thorpe. Not necessarily bad things, just… too much. The best thing I’ve seen written about it, in fact, has been by author Benjamin Law, who noted, “It’s not about you” – a message many would do well to heed.

    And here I pause while you go to Twitter and denounce the wanker who’s writing an article about Ian Thorpe just to say that people shouldn’t write articles about Ian Thorpe. Yes, haha. It is ironic isn’t it. Now shut up.

    Look, if I were any good at keeping my opinions to myself I’d be in a different job. So yes, there has been too much written about Ian Thorpe. And yes I’m adding to the problem. So you probably shouldn’t even read this. Go get some exercise instead. It’s a much smarter choice.

    There are, I’ve no doubt, many people around the world who will now see Thorpe as a pervert, a deviant, a godless hellbound violator of heavenly laws. Funnily enough, the mountains of opinion being offered on the subject haven’t been revolving around this theme at all – I’ve not seen many arguments regarding the morality of homosexuality, and three cheers for that.

    At the very least we do not have to perform the tedious task of refuting lunatics that so often accompanies public controversies.

    No, the arguments swirling about Thorpe in the opinion-sphere right now centre on a couple of apparently common reactions to his coming out: ‘Who cares’ and ‘Not surprised’.

    OK, let’s deal with that second one first. No, it probably isn’t a big surprise to many of us that Ian Thorpe is gay. However, there is no actual philosophical principle stating that unsurprising news should not be imparted. It wasn’t surprising when Lisa McCune won the Gold Logie either, but nobody demanded the envelope remain sealed and the canapes cancelled.

    As for ‘who cares’? Well. I don’t care. You don’t care. Why should we, right? Nobody should care about what other people choose to do in the privacy of their bedrooms, or kitchens, or living rooms, or toilet cubicles, with other consenting adults.

    Humanity contains within it an enormous variety of different individual tastes regarding who or what one chooses to rub one’s nethers up against, and whatever our own preferences may be is really nobody else’s business, is it? So really… who cares?

    Well, yes. This would be lovely. It would be marvellous to live in a world where everybody cared as little about others’ sexuality as you and I, enlightened folk as we be, do.

    It would be wonderful to find ourselves in a world where Ian Thorpe had no need to come out, where the closet did not exist, where it was a matter of profound indifference how we might label ourselves and we could all just get on with our love lives in whatever configuration we liked and in total peace.

    It would be simply glorious if we had here a world where nobody cared whether you were gay or straight – in fact, where gay and straight weren’t even things and nobody was forced to fit into someone else’s concept of identity purely because of what they may or may not wish to do with their genitals from time to time.

    That would be a beautiful world.

    But it’s not this world. We don’t live in a world where nobody cares. And Ian Thorpe has spent half his life having it drummed into him that he sure as hell doesn’t live in that world. He knows he doesn’t live in a world where his sexuality ‘doesn’t matter’ to anyone.

    He knows he lives in a world where, even if he didn’t decide to make an announcement in a TV interview with Parky, every media outlet would bellow ‘Thorpe Comes Out’ the moment he was seen in public holding hands with a man or going to an awards night with a new boyfriend.

    Because that’s the world we live in: if you’re famous, this world is going to stick its nose in. If you’re famous and athletic, this world is going to get into a tizz over the slightest hint you’re deviating from the norm.

    This world is not a world in which the level of caring which you, or I, or Ian Thorpe, might devote to the issue of a famous swimmer’s sexual preference, can hold back the tide of caring that the rest of the world is going to bring to bear.

    This is the world we are in. It’s much better than the worlds many people had to live in in the past. It’s much worse than the worlds we wish we could create for ourselves. But one characteristic it possesses with solid certainty is unavoidability.

    One might love this world or hate it, praise it or rail against it, try to change it or try to preserve it. But what one may not do is get out of its way. It’s coming for you whether you like it or not. And when you’re a legendary sporting champion, it comes for you harder and more ferociously than most people could know.

    I don’t know how to make this world into that world: the one we want to have instead. Maybe the best way is, indeed, to say ‘who cares’, to simply refuse to buy into this world’s nonsense or play its silly coming-out games. Maybe we should, by our example, demonstrate to others how absurd the labels we impose on each other are, and by rejecting them, hope that others will too.

    Or maybe the best way is to celebrate each coming-out of the Thorpe kind, to applaud the courage and celebrate the honesty, to encourage others to take that momentous step, so that more and more prominent people – in particular those in the machismo-infested world of sport – feel confident in following suit.

    Or maybe there’s another way. Maybe there is a perfect way to respond to Ian Thorpe’s news that I haven’t even conceived of. Because I do not know what the best way to move us forward on this is, and believe me, as a professional loudmouth blowhard I am pretty proud of myself for displaying the humble strength of will required to own up to that. I do not know.

    But I do know one thing: when a kid is thrown into a white-hot spotlight in his mid-teens, and from that moment on carries the hopes of a nation on his huge shoulders and enormous feet; when he is forced, as he grows from boy into man, to endure the ceaseless scrutiny of millions of people whom he has never met but who nevertheless feel free to pass judgment on his every success or failure when he must live his life beneath the peering eyes of a public whose desire to deify him every time he touches the wall first is matched only by its eagerness to condemn him every time someone else does…

    When all this is accompanied by speculation and innuendo and interrogation and accusation and snide giggles and winking gags about who he might want to have sex with; when from the age of 16 he is forced to field questions about his sexual proclivities alongside those about his performance in the water; when this is the life he is forced to lead because an entire country decided that cheering while they watched him on TV granted them ownership of the man; when that kid has been through all that and survived, and knows it’s never really likely to end…

    Well then, he can say whatever he damn well likes about himself, in whatever forum, at whatever time, and to whatever elderly twinkly-eyed Yorkshire interviewer he chooses, and he gets to decide just how important it is.

    He’s been through what we could only strive to imagine, and if he has something to say, he’s earned the right to say it. We don’t have to care, but if we don’t, we should feel free to quietly step aside and give this rather extraordinary man some room.

    Because it’s not about us.

    Ben Pobjie
    Ben Pobjie

    Ben Pobjie is a writer & comedian writing on The Age, New Matilda and The Roar, whose promising rugby career was tragically cut short the day he stopped playing rugby and had a pizza instead. The most he has ever cried was the day Balmain lost the 1989 grand final. Today he enjoys watching Wallabies, Swans, baggy greens, and Storms.

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    The Crowd Says (45)

    • July 14th 2014 @ 7:20am
      nordster said | July 14th 2014 @ 7:20am | ! Report

      Depends on who “us” is….if you’re not some closeted gay kid in the burbs, then you’re right its not for “you”…

      Glad that the next batch has their Ian Roberts like i did growing up! 🙂

      • July 16th 2014 @ 8:29pm
        Dean said | July 16th 2014 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

        Can you believe his father had this to say in response:

        Thorpe’s father Ken said on Monday his son’s revelation was “a shock”.

        “We never had any indication Ian was that way inclined,” he told Channel 7.

        “God loves Ian and we love Ian unconditionally and we’ll support him.”

    • July 14th 2014 @ 8:08am
      Ra said | July 14th 2014 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      Ok the worst kept secret in Aussie sport is out. So What???

      Thorpe was the greatest swimmer in the world in his time, and is still an icon of the sport.

      Nothing has changed. The trains still run on time, there are still delays at airports around the world and kids are still being caught up in someone else’s political wars somewhere in the world’s hotspots.

      The world still turns on its axis the bills still come through the mailbox and kids still have to go to school. Germany won the World Cup and the Warriors thrashed The Eels on the weekend.

      Really Thorpe, its not a big deal !!!

      • July 14th 2014 @ 8:45am
        gwagh said | July 14th 2014 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        I think it was to him, and it probably has been for millions of other people in the world too. Probably even harder for athletes given the masculine nature of their discipline and the perceived stereotype. Something which I think really needs to change in sport

        • July 14th 2014 @ 9:05am
          Ra said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:05am | ! Report

          Guess what gwagh, it wont change in our life times or beyond. Prejudice is rife. Millions and millions of us live it from birth. Regardless of how successful we may become in our chosen fields of interest, there will always be some one person who will find something disagreeable us. But we find ways of either overcoming that prejudice or living through it.
          If Thorpe feels its a big deal for him, that’s his issue because millions of us who have been through our own little dramas don’t think his is that big a deal. And neither will he very soon.

          • July 14th 2014 @ 9:34am
            gwagh said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:34am | ! Report

            That’s a fair point, everyone does have to live through prejudice in their lives. I still think it’s a big deal though, as mentioned previously in the comments suicide rates in homosexual populations are higher than in heterosexual ones. Prejudice will probably always exist but hopefully this is one prejudice that can be reduced

    • July 14th 2014 @ 8:58am
      madmonk said | July 14th 2014 @ 8:58am | ! Report

      How about polite and respectful disinterest. Good luck to him.

      The only criticism I have is don’t write a memoir if you plan to tell lies or if you do write one and don’t wish to comment on your sexuality then don’t. No ones makes you write a book, there is an expectation when someone chooses to take money from people for the story of your life that it is he truth. He should have thought more about that.

      • July 14th 2014 @ 9:06am
        Johnno said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        madmonk you by saying “how about polite and respectful disinterest” everyone who watched last night’s massive tv ratings should be ashamed by there desire for gossip and tabloid fodder, is that what your saying. Coz by the massive tv ratings, clearly, there was not disinterest by tv watchers, and the masses who many love reading and being nosey and watching celebrities on tv hungry for gossip. So should everyone who watched last night’s interview be ashamed by wanting to find out tabloid fodder and gossip. Parkinson’s probing and inquisition into Thorpe’s sexuality was vintage Parkinson at his best. Parkinson was tender, and probing and meticulous in his probing and his old fashion journalism,it was a 5-star performance from Parkinson at his best.

        • July 14th 2014 @ 9:49am
          madmonk said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:49am | ! Report

          Johnno, I am not biting. Yes I didn’t watch it, no I don’t care that many others did.

          There has been criticism of those who have said who cares. I wanted to express a different response.

        • July 14th 2014 @ 3:33pm
          Casper said | July 14th 2014 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

          Bit harsh expecting memoirs to be the absolute truth, Madmonk. Your nickname is the same as our Prime Minister’s & if you have a look at a few of his published works & long held philosophical views, they’re not how he presents himself to the public.

          Interesting that later in the evening after the Thorpe interview I came across the Louis Theroux ‘return to the most hated family’ show where the bigoted approach to gay people & virtually anyone who didn’t agree with the american right wing christian fundamentalist beliefs got an absolute gobful of righteous derision from the show’s participants. Lucky Thorpey didn’t come out in the southern christian states of the USA, that could have led to lynching as they relate ‘gay’ to deviance or paedophilia.

          that baggage & his personal insecurities about acceptance probably forced Thorpe to live overseas for years which is a great pity. He probably needed to clear the air so he could come home to live & earn a crust some time in the future. Hope he can, an articulate ex-sportsman is a rarity indeed.

      • July 14th 2014 @ 9:08am
        Ra said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:08am | ! Report

        Yep Monk, it is amazing what some people will do to be accepted by the masses though eh…

      • July 14th 2014 @ 9:08am
        Ra said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:08am | ! Report

        Yep Monk, it is amazing what some people will do to be accepted by the masses though eh…

      • July 14th 2014 @ 9:08am
        Ra said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:08am | ! Report

        Yep Monk, it is amazing what some people will do to be accepted by the masses though eh…

    • July 14th 2014 @ 9:10am
      Ra said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:10am | ! Report

      ..sorry people I only pressed the button once…..

      • July 14th 2014 @ 9:22am
        mushi said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        It’s the god forsaken triple posters we should be ostracising!

        • July 14th 2014 @ 10:18am
          Ra said | July 14th 2014 @ 10:18am | ! Report

          Sorry mushi, it’s my fault. I’m a triple-fingered closet button pusher…

    • July 14th 2014 @ 9:59am
      Matthew Skellett said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      I say good for Him for finally having the courage and love for a normal happy life to say what we all knew already . Thorpe was, is and always will be a legend in Australian Sport -this will never change that one iota -we all just hope he sees that too 🙂

      • July 14th 2014 @ 6:30pm
        Cugel said | July 14th 2014 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

        “I say good for Him”

        Deification is probably a little much though.

    • July 14th 2014 @ 10:00am
      Johnno said | July 14th 2014 @ 10:00am | ! Report

      Ian Thorpe coming out is about us as well, he didn’t have the guts to come out to us during his swimming career. Matt Mitcham did during his diving career, was far more relaxed about being gay, as was Martina Navratalova. And Navratalova was openly lesbian during the 70’s man, as was Billie Jean King. Ian Thorpe could of talked to Matt Mitcham, and seen how he pulled it off, he came out he danced on mardi gras float down oxford st, and this was after he came out. I think Ian Thorpe should go on a Mardi Gras float, nothing to hide flaunt, it your gay, be camp have some fun Thorpey. As Fitz said in his article on the weekend, “Thorpey’s gay, the footy’s on and pass me a beer would ya”, Is a good way to luagh about it. Ian Roberts came out during his pro career. Navratalova didn’t lose any sponsorships int he 70’s and 80’s for being lesbian, Thorpey should of relaxed more like Matt Mitcham, Navratalova and others, and chilled out. Parkinson handled the interview beautifully it wasn’t tabloid foddler as some reckon, rather he was asking those probing questions about Thorpey’s sexuality using all of his old tricks, it was riveting tv watching Thorpey tell all, i’m sure the tabloids and gossip pages were loving it too. Some say it was tabloid fodder for the masses, others say it was vintage Parkinson at his best, the veteran he is. His probing of Thorpey’s sexuality was fascinating, and hit all the right buttons for makeing good tv, cutting edge at it’s best a ratings hit for the middle-class masses wanting there excitment and sensationalism, but hay the masses love it.

      • July 14th 2014 @ 7:53am
        mushi said | July 14th 2014 @ 7:53am | ! Report

        Johnno you really are a nasty piece of work,

        • July 14th 2014 @ 8:00am
          Johnno said | July 14th 2014 @ 8:00am | ! Report

          How, I was covering the interview please point it out feel free, where is the nasty please tell me.What did you think of Parkinson’s style.

          • July 14th 2014 @ 8:23am
            Reality said | July 14th 2014 @ 8:23am | ! Report

            For starters: ‘Ian Thorpe should go on a Mardi Gras float, nothing to hide flaunt, it your gay, be camp have some fun Thorpey”, because as we all know all gay men are exactly the same and there’s nothing they like more than shaking their booty on a Mardi gra float. It’s stereotypes like this that probably kept him in the closet for so long!

            • July 14th 2014 @ 8:31am
              Johnno said | July 14th 2014 @ 8:31am | ! Report

              No it’s called haveing fun, flaunt it be proud your not straight who cares. And you know it.
              I didn’t mean it the way you say it. Like Fitz saud on the weekend, Thropey’s gay,the footy’s on, pass us a beer and get the barbie going. And you do know Sydney’s gay and lesbian mardi gras is Australia’s biggest tourist festival each year, and one of the biggest gay pride parades in the World.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 14th 2014 @ 10:55am
                Don said | July 14th 2014 @ 10:55am | ! Report

                No, its called stereotyping Johnno. Saying that he should go on a float, flaunt it, “be proud you are not straight” etc is exactly why a lot of people don’t come out. The image of some gay men wearing hot pants in a parade or on a float or dykes on bikes is miles from reality for how a lot of gay people see themselves and want to be seen. There are as many gay men out there who prefer not to associate with Mardi Gras as do. Most would ask why they should celebrate and be proud to be gay when you see no similar parades for people proud to be straight.
                Those who participate in Mardi Gras are a small representation of the gay community but to many straight people it is the way they perceive all gay people to live their lives.

                My nephew is gay. He is a 6’4″ 115kg bearded monster who looks like a lumberjack, is employed as an mines engineer and is in a relationship with his male partner who is a pretty conservative, right wing leaning accountant. They don’t care for mardi gras and just say “each to their own.” They have the Peter Fitz attitude of “so he is gay, when does the footy start? pass me a rumbo please.”

                But it took a long time for my nephew to get to the place he is today. He confided in my girlfriend at the time and then in me that he was gay when he was 17. Over the next 6 years I watched him go through all sorts of turmoil while he struggled, not with his sexuality, but how to tell people and what would that mean to his relationships with his mum and dad, at work, at his footy club etc. I watched him turn up to family events with girls so no one would be asking him “why don’t you have a girlfriend?”
                It was heartbreaking and no matter how much I told him his mum and dad won’t care, he still couldn’t do it. Finally he sought some counselling to help him break down his own fears about coming out and being open. I went with him as support. He is happy now but wasn’t for a long time.

                Saying Thorpie “should have relaxed more” and been like Matthew Mitcham is easy to say when you haven’t even walked an step in their shoes let alone a mile. If I told my nephew he should have jumped on a mardi gras float and just been proud to be gay, he would have thumped me and had one felt he had one less person to talk to along the way.

                I’m sure you have argued your point further down but really, you clearly have no idea.

            • July 15th 2014 @ 3:57am
              peeeko said | July 15th 2014 @ 3:57am | ! Report

              very good point Reality

          • July 14th 2014 @ 8:23am
            Patrick said | July 14th 2014 @ 8:23am | ! Report

            That’s not what he’s talking about and you know it. To all the people who think this is “not an issue anymore”, I’d like you to head over to google and check out the rates of suicide for gay people in this country, or walk in to any dressing shed and hear what the general terms for being soft are.

            • July 14th 2014 @ 9:30am
              Andrew said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:30am | ! Report

              That remains the biggest stereotypical slur I think in the footy sheds – being soft is calling them gay, a girl, sissy, a poof a fag etc etc. People dont mean to be discriminant, its an old long term/ barrier that I think is slowly being broken down but it does take time but it is happening. Example being Brain Taylor, no personal malice but the comment was made it was wrong and a quick apology followed and he is in trouble.

              I dont think Jonno means to be harsh (i am hoping), but like me, we just want Ian to be happy and be a leader (if he wants) for the gay community.

              Good Luck Thorpy all the best

              • July 14th 2014 @ 10:27am
                Johnno said | July 14th 2014 @ 10:27am | ! Report

                Im not being harsh at all all good party now, Thorpey’s gay, get the barbyie out and watch the footy as Fitz said on the weekend. It’s a celeberation of Thorpey coming out, good luck Thorpey we still love ya.

          • July 14th 2014 @ 9:17am
            mushi said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:17am | ! Report

            Well first off to say he is gutless for not coming out earlier is pathetic.

            To say that he should have just done what Matt Mitcham did is also horrible, wasn’t Mitcham the first openly gay male athlete to medal at the modern Olympics? Clearly it wasn’t a simple no risk or pressure free process if no one had done it before.

            Also wouldn’t it be somewhat worth noting that Mitcham has depression and a problem drug addiction. As I said you are a nasty piece of work

            To say he should go on a mardi gras float is just the tipping point right – what if that isn’t his thing? In saying that you may as well have just written all gay men are camp and those that aren’t are jsut pretending as they can’t possibly be different as being gay is the only thing which defines him. this just drums home what a disgusting little man you are.

            Also stop quoting fitzy because you are missing the point which is not to turn him into a float riding camp extrovert if that isn’t who he is.

            • July 14th 2014 @ 9:31am
              Johnno said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:31am | ! Report

              Who said Mitcham’s depression and drug problem was linked to being gay, read his book. He had alot of family problems and life problems that were not even due to him being gay, oh shock horror. Don’t stereotype there, that all problems for gay people are linked to oh shock horror being gay. And whats wrong with advice. Mitcham by coming out earlier and younger has been free, he hasn’t been restrained all his 20’s like Thorpey’s painful 20’s. Who says he must. but many find it fun it’s only Sydney’s biggest tourism event each year, oh no haveing fun. So did Fitzy get it wrong too is that what your saying. And by the way Matt Mitcham went on the float, and is not an extrovert either, oh no. Mticham is very open and relaxed about being gay, he says so himself, Thorpe struggles more with it, than Mticham or Navratalova, you haven’t acknowledged that.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 14th 2014 @ 11:12am
                Don said | July 14th 2014 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                You say that Navratalova being openly gay didn’t cause her to lose any sponsorships. How would you know?
                Certainly Chris Evert received more off court income than Martina despite Martina beating her regularly. Maybe that is because she was “prettier” or maybe because she was straight and therefor “safer”?

                I seriously doubt that, given the conservatism of the times, being openly gay did not cost Martina in sponsorship income.

              • July 14th 2014 @ 11:30am
                Johnno said | July 14th 2014 @ 11:30am | ! Report

                Evert beat her alot too don’t forget that, and Evert was the best female tennis player on clay ever, and has the best win loss statistic of any female player ever.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 14th 2014 @ 11:53am
                Don said | July 14th 2014 @ 11:53am | ! Report

                So that’s your answer?
                They both won 18 singles Grand Slams. and Evert was the best on clay…
                Nothing about your premise that Martina never lost a sponsor by being gay?

                Even Martina herself has said ‘When I first came out in 1981, it was pretty lonely out there. Coming out was not considered a wise business decision. I think the phrase I heard was “career suicide.” I’m told I lost millions in sponsorship, but in my heart I know I gained things of much greater value—the opportunity to live my life with integrity and the knowledge that others might have come out because of my example.”

              • July 14th 2014 @ 4:18pm
                clipper said | July 14th 2014 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

                I think Johnno should be given the benefit of the doubt – it is ‘Johnno’s World’ and sometimes comes out (excuse the pun) in the wrong way.
                One point, which may be controversial – comparing Thorpe coming out to Martina coming out is quite a different concept. Many bigoted people view any powerful woman to be less than feminine and thus to be more likely gay, claiming that gays make up a lot of women’s sport. This is the complete opposite of men’s sport where the same group of people would never think that any tough male athlete could be gay and is why it is more of a shock when they do come out.

      • July 14th 2014 @ 8:23am
        gwagh said | July 14th 2014 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        Johnno, I’m sorry if a subtle use of satire has gone over my head but I think you’ve just managed to contradict just about every notion that the author wished to convey in this article.

        “He didn’t have the guts to come out to us during his swimming career” – It sounds like you’re blaming him, as if he owes us as armchair sports viewers all the most personal details of his private life. How would you feel if it was expected of you to inform the public on every deeply personal matter that impacted your life? To say that he should just relax about it and act more like others is completely disrespectful of his own experience, you can’t compare that between people.

        “I think Ian Thorpe should go on a Mardi Gras float, nothing to hide flaunt, it your gay, be camp have some fun Thorpey” – This only makes the problem worse and serves to reinforce the idea that people need to fit into predefined stereotypical boxes that have been constructed for sexual preference. We tend to place way too much importance on sexual preference and view it as some identity defining characteristic; just because someone has same sex attraction does it really mean they need to live their life and behave in a specific way? Saying that Ian Thorpe needs to take part in Mardi Gras is simply saying he needs to conform to sexual stereotypes instead of simply being himself.

        Again, if you were actually being sarcastic then I’m going to look like a bit of a fool. But if you were in fact being quite serious, hopefully you’ll think about these things before being so critical and disrespectful of other people doing what Ian Thorpe has just done.

        • July 14th 2014 @ 9:00am
          Johnno said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:00am | ! Report

          gwagh are you saying the fact we have Mardi Gras float, is that a backward step, is that what your saying, it the Mardi Gras still only around coz gays and lesbians are not acknowledged. Is it sad we have a Mardi gras is that what your saying, what about the celebration of gay and lesbian culture, and what they do. We have other cultures who have community parades, what’s wrong with gays and lesbian showing off there culture, gwagh. It bring in big tourism bucks to Sydney.
          And as for how will you feel if your expected to show your personal life, well being a celebrity you accept that responsibility, that you will be a role model and you will be tabloid fodder for the papparazzi, and for the gossip magazines, and for tv shows, and interviews, it’s all part of being a celebirty. If you want the privacy and not the tabloid masses, and papparazzi, that comes with being a celebirity, go live uner a rock, or be a regular bloke, go drive a taxi, and give up the money the fame, that all comes with being a celebrity. What are you saying to the masses who read gossip magazines that feed of celebertiies, should the masses be ashamed of themselves and stop feeding the papparazzi and the tabloid magazines is that what your saying gwagh. The fans are nosey and want to know, what do you have to say to Thorpey’s fan, and readers of gossip magines about Thorpe I’m interested in your angle gwagh. Are you saying the masses are wrong that huge ratings were done last night, by everyone wanting to know about Thorpey comeing out, was it wrong, should people who watched last night’s itnerview or tabloid fodder call it what you want, should they be ashamed gwagh?

          • July 14th 2014 @ 9:24am
            gwagh said | July 14th 2014 @ 9:24am | ! Report

            I’m saying that just because the Mardi Gras exists, it doesn’t mean that people who are gay should be expected to take part in it.

            For Ian Thorpe not to be a celebrity it would mean giving up swimming and never becoming the greatest athlete in his field which doesn’t really seem fair. I don’t think we should expect athletes to be celebrities in the same sense reality TV stars are.

            I don’t think I’m really saying anything to Thorpe’s fans. I am a fan of Thorpe, as a young swimmer I loved watching him swim and have been pretty interested in this recent story which is why I’m commenting on this article. I don’t think the masses are wrong for being interested as I am part of the masses and I am interested. The author makes a good point in saying it’s hard to know how to react properly, do we celebrate it or just say ‘who cares’ in an attempt to make it more normal? I’m not sure but I’m very interested in how it turns out.

            Thanks for your thoughtful reply 🙂

      • July 14th 2014 @ 1:34pm
        AR said | July 14th 2014 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

        Guys, guys, guys..!!!

        It’s Johnno.