Ian Thorpe On Coming Out: “I Always Thought Of It As A Negative”
When I was about 16 I was accused of being gay and because it was in that tone, I always thought of it as a negative, of not being equal.
It was frightening. I knew I should have come out earlier but I never thought that I could, I didn’t have the confidence to do it.
When I did come out it was to close friends and then my family which was the most difficult for me.
I struggled to come out but I don’t struggle with being out.
I come from a conservative family and my heart was racing. I had prepared for it and then I blurted it out and they quite simply told me that they would love me and always support me.
It was overwhelming and I was so pleased I would be accepted by my own family.
The way the country responded to me coming out was better than I could have hoped for.
I was proud how the majority of people in Australia said ‘that’s great, no big deal’ and the nonchalant response is how it should be.”
— Five-time gold medallist Ian Thorpe, who came out in 2014, speaking at an Australians 4 Equality event in support of marriage equality and anti-bullying initiatives in schools