Is it news that Ian Thorpe is gay, by his own admission? Yes, it is news, it’s always news whenever anyone with prominence comes out and states that they are not heterosexual, because being queer is still seen as unusual. Is it any of our actual business who Ian Thorpe is attracted to at any given point in his life? Fuck no it is not.
What really bothers me about the whole thing is that Ian Thorpe for years has been repeatedly asked by people whether or not he’s gay. He’s told everyone who has ever asked, and everyone seems to have asked at one point or another, that he was straight, and the constant pressure he’s been under to actually be gay, is astounding. It does look like the media has hounded him into just admitting that he is gay so they’ll leave him alone. That’s no way to be authentic to yourself. If anyone thinks that the media will now back off Ian Thorpe because he has now stated that he is gay, then those people have rocks in their heads. Those women that he previously dated, they’ll be interviewed – friends, family, acquaintances, etc – all interviewed and fed to those of you who think that digesting someone’s personal life is a right, not a privilege.
If Ian Thorpe wanted to come out, then it should have been in his own time. It is possible that this interview with Michael Parkinson was his own time, and the nerves I’ve read described were those of relief and anxiety of finally being able to be himself – though they could equally be of frustration and resignation that this question has been asked yet again, and deciding to just say “yes” because maybe then it’ll stop. I’m not going to watch the interview, and these comments are based on the media I’ve read prior to the interview being aired.
Sexuality is fluid, people move and change, and someone who says that they are straight today might identify as gay or bisexual later in life, and vice versa. I don’t have any problems with people shifting from one sexual orientation to anther, what I do have a HUGE problem with, is that people proscribing a sexual orientation on someone for how they are perceived to be acting. If you don’t act like a macho manly man, then you must be gay – that’s the message that the hounding of Ian Thorpe, and others like him, give to young men – queer or not.
Additionally, I’m not at all surprised that people haven’t asked him if he was bisexual, because bisexuals are invisible and apparently evil/gross/two-timing back-stabbing arseholes. I should know.
Additional reading: Gay or straight? That’s Ian Thorpe’s business