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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. 

Olympic-Size Pool

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? 

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10 responses »

    • It is, really. Apparently the gays have turned on him now because he got paid to give the interview – the phrase is “gay for pay”. I’m pretty shocked by it – we’re the community that should be embracing him.

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  1. yeah you encompass my thoughts also. All I can think of is the strain on his mental health over the years. it’s hard enough being in the public eye and living as a competitive athlete I imagine

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  2. I am so disappointed with the absolute hounding he has endured, forcing him to reveal. I think it says something tragic about us that the sexual orientation of a person is even up for public discussion and dissection. What I am reading everywhere is the concept that if someone is heterosexual then its their own private business, if they are gay or bi they are socially obligated to come out and it’s every body’s business. My nine year old was watching the interview with her Dad – she asked me when they were going to ask him how to swim so fast. Not surprisingly that question, the only question Ian actually should be asked, was never covered.

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    • I love that your daughter was only concerned with his swimming. And in reality, that’s all we have a right to know about. That’s the side of himself that he has offered for public viewing.

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