There was a huge interview here in Australia last week in which Ian Thorpe, the famous Olympian swimmer officially came out as gay. The preview of the interview with Sir Michael Parkinson said that he would ‘answer the question about his sexuality which has plagued him his entire career’ and all I could think was ‘no it hasn’t!’.
For the entire duration of his career he has known the truth that he was (probably) gay and that’s the only person that should know. The only reason his sexuality has plagued his career is because people are nosey and think he needs to tell the truth to the world but what’s wrong with keeping our own truth? As long as those closet to you understand you as a person, no one else truly matters unless you give them the power to.
If Ian wasn’t being truthful with himself for the entirety then that is a very different situation. Yes, he lied in his memoir that he wasn’t gay which I don’t agree with but I come back to the point that it’s nobody’s business but his own and if he wan’t ready to be honest with the world then so be it. We have no right to consistently question someone about a situation or thoughts when they so obviously don’t wish to answer them.
You could argue that he ‘needed’ to come out because he is a high-profile sportsman and therefore could potentially inspire many other young people to accept who they are and come out; he is a role model and therefore ‘should’ come out. However, as much as I agree that he is a role model, he never asked to be and neither does he owe it to anyone to announce his sexuality just because he finds himself in this position.
Whilst I do agree that he can serve as inspiration to other struggling young people who may be confused about their sexuality and we still live in a world where we need famous people to come out to show ‘it’s ok’, it’s an awful burden to carry and circus to be part of which, perhaps, Ian didn’t want to be included for the moment which is entirely his decision.
If I’m your friend and you happen to be gay; I don’t care. I only care that we’re friends, love each other and that you’re happy in yourself so what I’m saying is this:
Please stop telling everyone you’re gay. It’s no-one’s business but your own despite the pressure society puts on you! As long as you’re happy with who you are, have friends and family that support you and hopefully a loving partner, what does it matter if you ‘announce’ it or not?
*Disclaimer – I understand that being gay is a very difficult situation for many and that some feel that have no choice but to announce it but that isn’t what this article is about. I’m simply saying, if you’re happy in yourself, what does it matter?!