There’s been huge responses all across Australia after a prominent Olympian ended speculation and confirmed that he is gay.
Comments are divided.
It doesn’t matter, leave him alone! shouts one corner, while the other bellows in a triumphant tone, We knew it!.
It’s a big thing, to come out. And I imagine it is even harder after denying it for the duration of your career, and in turn a significant chunk of your life.
The real thing to consider is why? Why did he choose to deny it? What is wrong with our culture that it is still so hard for people to be who they are? What is it about sporting life that made it impossible for this man to be at ease with his sexuality before now?
We can claim to be happy for him. We can say that we knew it and that it doesn’t matter and create memos that welcome him out of the closet. But we’ve still fucked up as a society when someone’s sexuality is breaking news.
Think about it.
Would you be able to come out without considering repercussions? Could you happily make a statement that risked ostracising you from your peers, your family, your friends? Would you be at ease to answer in the affirmative, knowing that your answer immediately prevents you from marrying the person you love?
The real reason this is news is because it exposes a lie.
A lie that we as a society tell ourselves every frigging day.
We say we accept sexuality. We say that we don’t discriminate and we make the outraged noises over inequality and injustice. But when we cheer say we knew it when a man reveals his sexuality? We’re not accepting it, or him, as normal.
Why does he even have to tell us, one way or another?
Why isn’t what he has already given to Australia enough? If he wanted to be a role model for same sex attracted Australians, maybe he would have done so. I tend to think that offering the example of an active lifestyle and achieving goals is probably equally valid.
He doesn’t owe anyone an explanation of his sexuality. That’s between him and his penis.
Maybe it’s a chance for us as a society to talk about what makes it still so hard to come out, so hard for people to embrace who they are.
What are your thoughts?