The Olympic legend himself, Ian Thorpe, is opening up about why he stayed quiet about his sexuality for so many years.
In a new tv interview with ABC’s Anh’s Brush With Fame, Thorpe admitted that despite his consistent denial that he was gay earlier in his career, he does wish he came out earlier.
“You know I was [first] accused of being gay when… I think I was 16 at the time,” he recalled. “But because it was kind of like I was being accused of it, I’d always thought of it, as that being a bad thing.”
At first, he came out to a few family and close friends, something he found very hard to do.
“It was really hard for me to tell my closest friends and family. And I mentioned to them, ‘do you know, I’m thinking of coming out on TV, just so it’s done.’ People were like, ‘maybe you should just get used to it first’. I was like, ‘no. I will… no I’m going to do it’. I was able to be the kind of person who I am. And you know, that’s really a kind of powerful thing to have. It’s weird, because [gay people] even have to think about, you know, do we hold hands or not? And we should be holding hands.”
The swimmer came out in 2014, and has since been the fixation of tabloid gossip with many linking him to Ricky Martin. Currently, he’s in a committed relationship with model Ryan Channing.
The couple recently had a run in with a homophobe who saw the couple kissing in a taxi.
“There is still homophobia out there. I pecked the boyfriend in the back of a car and I was told to show some respect and ‘that’s disgusting, I don’t want you in my car.’ I was rattled… I didn’t realise that in Sydney, in 2016, this can happen.”
h/t: Pink News