Happy Birthday Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe
Main Image: Eva Rinaldi

Wishing the happiest of birthdays to Ian Thorpe, one of the world’s greatest-ever swimmers and a staunch advocate for his communities.

Born October 13, 1982, Ian Thorpe went on to win five Olympic gold medals during his swimming career.

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he took three gold and two silver.

“In two weeks,” said the Sydney Morning Herald, “Ian Thorpe, aged 17, had gone from golden boy to water god to champion of the world.”

The paper breathlessly listed what it knew of the young swimmer including his favourite song, ‘Breathe’, by his favourite singer, Kylie.

But already, speculation swirled about Ian Thorpe’s sexuality. That started when he was a kid. Ian was just 16 when reporters first asked if he was gay.

Within a year of the Sydney Olympics, speculation was rife. Satirical newspaper The Chaser included the topic in an ‘easy-to-use guide to conversational platitudes’.

Amongst suggested dinner party opinions: “It’s not important whether Ian Thorpe is gay or not.”

The swimmer denied he was gay for years. In his 2012 autobiography, he wrote, “For the record, I am not gay.”

But he added, “I was accused of being gay before I knew who I was.”

Coming out

In 2014, Ian Thorpe came out.

“I’ve thought about this for a long time,” he told celebrity interviewer Michael Parkinson.

” I’m not straight.

“And this is only something that very recently, we’re talking the past two weeks, I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me, exactly that. I’ve wanted to [come out] for some time but I couldn’t, I didn’t feel as though I could.”

Following his coming out, Ian Thorpe became a staunch advocate for his communities. He stood against bullying, and took a prominent role in the campaign for marriage equality.

In 2022, he continues his activism, speaking out earlier this year against the Morrison government’s contentious Religious Discrimination Bill.

Happy Birthday to a great Aussie champion, in and out of the water.

For the latest lesbiangaybisexualtransgenderintersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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