Ian Thorpe Comes Out: ‘I’m Not Straight’ — VIDEO


As anticipated, Australian Olympian swimmer Ian Thorpe told Michael Parkinson "I'm not straight" in an interview broadcast last night on Australia's 'ten' network.

Said Thorpe:

"I've thought about this for a long time. I'm not straight. Um, and this is only something that only very recently – we're talking in the last two weeks – I've felt comfortable telling the closest people around me. Exactly that."

Watch the interview clip and a news clip of Australian reaction, AFTER THE JUMP

Thorpe added more to his statement, The Guardian reports:

"I'm comfortable saying I'm a gay man," Thorpe said. "And I don't want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay."

As Thorpe spoke – and his name trended on Twitter – the comments from the Australian public were overwhelmingly supportive. The gay community and the sporting world welcomed his decision and said it would help young gay people and gay athletes to feel supported.

"I was concerned about the reaction from my family, my friends," Thorpe said. "I'm pleased to say that in telling them, and especially my parents, they told me that they love me and they support me. And for young people out there, know that that's usually what the answer is."

Read the full interview transcript HERE.


  1. LemmyC says

    So, let me get this straight… It’s not that he’s gay—he’s “not straight”? And “all of [I’m not gay and have only had straight sex]’s true”?

    Ok, I can see that this is the circuitous, Tom Dailey (sp?) route to coming out as exclusively gay, but, honestly, why???!!!

  2. says

    I’d love further examinations of “i was worried about the reaction of family and friends” – meaning, i’d like to know (specifically) what was the source of worry. Anti-gay attitudes? Religious affiliations? Voting records?
    The best thing we can do when we come out is address what kept us Closeted. It puts into perspective, for straight people, what it is about culture that keeps so many people from lying about who and what we are, and even once we come out many still only tentatively “accept themselves” – all too often with conditions they put on themselves, or those in their lives put on *them*.

    it’s something I’ve often suggested to folks who are coming out to family – frame it less “i’m gay” and more “i’ve been closeted my entire life, here’s why, and here’s why i’m not doing it anymore” – the reminder that you’re not suddenly “gay” when you tell them, but you’ve been gay your whole life. if they loved you two days ago, you were gay two days ago. nothing has changed except your choice to no longer live in fear and hiding.

    addressing closet culture is how we eradicate it. best of luck, Ian. continue to grow. and at this point, i strongly suggest some real time spent with LGBT outreach groups, or support groups. coming out as an adult – you have the right to rid yourself of as much baggage as possible.

  3. Melvyn says

    He looks like he is still miserable. Can’t imagine what it is like to be hounded for years for something so private and personal. I hope his life brightens up soon.

  4. jason MacBride says

    @LEMMYC – what part of “I am comfortable saying I’m a gay man” did you not read.

    Thorpe’s road to where he is has not been easy. He’s taken a big first step. Let’s hope it’s a starting point for a happier and more comfortable life.

  5. Jacques says

    @LemmyC, why ask why? Everyone is entitled to his or her own path.

    I’m happy to simply celebrate the fact that “Australia’s greatest Olympic athlete” is on our team!

  6. Middle Aged Gay says

    C’mon guys, this has obviously been very difficult for him. Everyone’s experience and internal growth is different. He had to add the ‘public eye’ to the mix.

  7. Middle Aged Gay says

    C’mon guys, this has obviously been very difficult for him. Everyone’s experience and internal growth is different. He had to add the ‘public eye’ to the mix.

  8. bcarter3 says

    “The gay community and the sporting world welcomed his decision…”

    Except for some of the sad little losers who obsessively post bitchy comments on Towleroad. See the responses to yesterday’s Ian Thorpe posting for a half dozen examples of warped self-hatred.

  9. oncemorefeeling says

    Sexual orientation is no more private or personal than eye color. Try telling a straight person to keep their private and personal sexual orientation to themselves. I dare you.

    Nobody but Ian Thorpe made Ian Thorpe miserable. It took way too long, but he apparently finally found the tools to stop doing that to himself.

    Good for him.

  10. Eikki says

    @ONCEMOREFEELING, “sexual orientation is no more private or personal than eye color.”

    I disagree, wholeheartedly. It definitely is far more personal and private than an eye color. People have a multitude of reasons for staying in the closet, or coming out when they are ready. I would ask everyone to remember that Ian Thorpe was thrust into the spotlight as a teenager…I think we all recall what being a teenager is like. Then compound that with a meteoric rise to fame — a pressure, none of us have had to deal with, especially not as a teen. There were so many societal pressures that prevented him from coming out as gay. Many, the same as any teen would face. And, as he stated, once the lie was told and repeated, it became more difficult for him to extricate himself from the lie when living under a spotlight.

    People come to terms with their sexuality/sexual identity in their own time. I find the negativity to be off-putting. Unless you came out as gay screaming from the womb, I don’t think it is anyone’s right to condemn him for his journey. I understand that LGBT people want people, especially celebrities, to be honest with themselves and others around them for a variety of reasons, but it very much is a personal journey everyone has to travel on their own.

    Anyway, good luck to Ian. I don’t know how much of his depression was tied in with his being closeted (depression can strike anyone , so I’m not going to make the leap and assume it was a huge part of it, as I’m not Ian and only he can say), but if it was a major factor, I hope his coming out and to terms with his sexuality eases that somewhat.

  11. mdncTBOY919@GMAIL.COM says

    Not straight? So what. Tom Daley said he still fancied girls when he came out. Everyone comes out in their own way. Cut the Thorpedo some slack.

  12. Epic says

    And how many fail at reading past the first line before commenting??? This isn’t twitter, though it amuses me greatly to call out the twits with the attention span of a gnat to post their faux outrage about nothing..lol twits

  13. jarago says

    Hmmm well good luck Ian- he doesn’t seem to happy or proud about this- so perhaps someone had some sex tape that they were going to reveal.

  14. Fox says

    Thorpe obviously has a lot to still work through.

    I like what Matthew Mitcham said about it today on Facebook:

    “Whatever your opinion, remember that it’s OUR reaction to Ian’s news that determines how easy it is for the next gay superstar to come out.”

  15. RayM says

    When someone is that dedicated to their craft, the experiences most of us have growing up don’t exist. You are guided, coached, and mentored by a very limited number of people who have a specific outcome for you. A basketball player lives on the court practically every minute of every day. One doesn’t have the variety of choices rather it comes down to play or don’t play, swim or don’t swim. That must impact personal growth, take for example Michael Jackson who was isolated and driven by his father which altered his ability to have everyday interactions with adults. For one, I wish Ian only happiness, joy, and whole lot of love…

  16. Owens says

    Give him a break guys, it was hard enough personally for many of us to come out and if we were lucky, we did it on our own terms. He’s a highly public person and everyone was hounding him before that. he needed to do this on his own. I truly hope this lifts a burden off of his shoulders and he finds love (just not in Dustin Black).

  17. John says

    Keep in mind he has also had struggles with depression, which often is accompanied by obsession and reluctance to act. This piece of the puzzle can’t be ignored when wondering why he waited so long to come out. There is also a strong religious puritanism that runs in many Aussie families and that could have been a part as well. I’m glad he has come out and is moving on.

  18. andover1 says

    Good for him. I hope he can breathe more easily now. I totally understand wanting to keep his sexual orientation private but at the same time, not sure why he and a publisher would want to publish a revealing autobiography where he denies hes gay? I’d like to read a revised version of that book.

  19. Nelson says

    Does it occur to ANY of my dear gay brothers that there is rarely an absolutely totally Kinsey 1 or Kinsey 6, if people are totally honest about the grey area that is sexual orientation and , even more important, what people fantasize about? Maybe he said he’s “not straight” because he is genuinely bisexual in some percentage. It does exist you know. And maybe he was afraid that the gay community would give him some of the often tedious crap about “oh nobody is really bi, he just means he is gay and doesn’t have the balls to say it.”

  20. Dawson says

    Ian was hounded by not just the press but the gay community before he was ready to come out. What he needed was support from the gay community but in our need to “out people” before he was ready it threw him further in the closet. This seemed obvious then as it is now. Now there are some isolated jerks who feel it isn’t good enough. Happy I don’t know you. I welcome Ian. Most of the gay community is very supportive. I would rather look at the positive. In any family or group there will be those you will never please. They are not worth our time. I am very happy for Ian. We all should be too.

  21. Sam says

    Bravo to Ian in realizing his authenticity. In retospect, only the press is running with this long overdue revelation since Olympic divers Greg Louganis, Matthew Mitcham and Tom Daley have broken the Olympic glass ceiling long before. Well, better-late-than-never Thorpie, ole boy!

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