Thorpe says he himself hadn't realized until very recently.
Okay, since when did society make coming out such a big deal that celebrities need to record a special interview for the occasion? We’re referring, of course, to Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, who just did his big Coming Out in an interview with Michael Parkinson, broadcast on Australia’s Channel 10. Thorpe is a five-time Olympic medalist and one of Australia’s finest, but he says that questions about his sexual orientation have plagued him since he was a teenager.
"I'm not straight," Thorpe said. "And this is only something that very recently - we're talking in the past two weeks - I've been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that."
In the past, he has outright denied being gay because he himself didn’t realise, said Thorpe.
In his 2012 autobiography, This Is Me, Thorpe wrote, "For the record, I am not gay and all of my sexual experiences have been straight. I'm attracted to women, I love children, and aspire to have a family one day."
In his most recent interview, Thorpe revealed that being asked about his sexuality as a teenager forced him to take a defensive position and deny everything – even to himself. Back then, he was too young to know if he was gay or straight, but he said the latter to avoid teasing. At some point, it was too late to go back – until now, that is.
"I felt the lie had become so big that I didn't want people to question my integrity," he said. "And a little bit of ego comes into this; I didn't want people to question ... have I lied about everything?"
But he isn’t uncomfortable saying he is gay per se. On the contrary – Thorpe said he is proud to be out and hopes he can help other young people struggling with self acceptance and identity. And that’s your piece of beautiful news of the day right there. Congratulations, Mr. Thorpe. Stay awesome.