‘I Am Gay’

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Going through checkout at Woolies today and the lady behind me threw down the Sunday Mail on the conveyor belt with much gusto, its ‘I AM GAY’ headline staring up at me.

“I said as much when he was sixteen,” the woman said to me, like we were midway through a conversation we’d started in the biscuit aisle. She was in her late fifties and confident enough in her opinions on such things she could announce them to people who didn’t ask.

“Did you?” I said politely.

“Yep. From the moment I saw him being interviewed on the tv. You could tell from his voice.”

That’s an interesting superpower.

“To be honest,” I said to her, because I’m also confident enough to speak my mind on things I find important, “I don’t think it’s anyone’s business. I feel sorry the guy.”

And much to my surprise, the woman with Gaydar agreed with me.

I’ve been rather deliberately avoiding this whole Ian Thorpe interview with its sexual revelation because my point is, who cares?

And I don’t mean that in a derogatory, put him down sort of way. I really do genuinely think it’s none of my business whether or not he likes guys or gals or both.

I don’t follow sport. Over the years I’ve seen snippets on the news, usually as I’m about to turn the telly off or change the channel in search of something which doesn’t involve running, jumping, tackling, hitting or, indeed, swimming. But what I do know is Ian Thorpe is an absolute bloody legend. He’s represented this country with dignity and enthusiasm, and we as a country have gone along for the ride, reveling in his successes.

And he owes us nothing. Not even an explanation or a definitive yes or no with regards his sexuality. It’s none of our business.

How much richer will our society be when no one cares? When no one feels they have the right to care about what floats the boat of another person? When no one has to ‘come out’ and everyone can marry who the hell agrees to marry them, if indeed they decide they need to?

What I want for my children and their children is a society where your sexuality doesn’t matter anymore than the colour of your eyes. Being gay is not a choice, anymore than being straight, but being caught up in the fervour about this great man’s personal life is my choice and I’ve made a decision.

I don’t know if the headline of the Sunday Mail is true or just a deceptive way to attract readers. I don’t care. Even after seeing the headline I still maintain it’s none of my business, so I refuse to read the article or watch the interview.

What you’ve done in the service of this country, and how you’ve conducted yourself, is nothing short of exemplary, Ian Thorpe. And I for one will do you the service of respecting your right to just be yourself.

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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”

15 Comments

  • I couldn’t understand why it’s such a big deal, really. I don’t need or want to know what other people do in their bedroom. I’m not defined by that, nor should anyone else ever be.

  • I dont think the question have been asked and it doesnt bother me either way, not anything that I think about, if a person is gay or not.

  • Hallelujah! It is none of our business. When did we become so bad mannered that we presume that something so personal, so intimate, is something we need to know???

  • I was asked on FB why I wrote this if I feel this way. Good point. I wasn’t going to write anything about it until I saw a comment on my FB wall which, fueled by a six pack of Squires from an afternoon catching up with family, got on my goat. Then I remembered the conversation with the lady in the supermarket. Then I found myself typing, doing dishes, typing. Took me all of half an hour to do my little rant(ish). I guess I’m incensed this has followed him about for ten years. He said he didn’t want to talk about it. People (media) kept nagging and speculating. Why? What does it matter? That’s the bit I don’t understand. And now he’s being accused of lying all those years ago. FFS! I just think it’s a little bit sad that so many people care that it makes front page news. That he’s achieved so much and gone through so much, but this is the bit which gets the punters in. On top of that, I’m so very disheartened we still don’t allow gay marriages in this country. Our current laws are discriminatory and that is wrong and yet we’re dragging our feet. Surveys show the majority of people are fine with it, and still nothing. Is it any wonder so many gay people struggle and think they won’t be accepted when the law says they’re not equal? I wonder if maybe our current laws give the homophobes licence to think they’re right? The law backs them up and says gay people are different. They’re not. In my experience they’re so the same. So my point in this blog (which I didn’t think would do much at all because it isn’t what I normally write about) was just that I think Ian Thorpe shouldn’t need to do this. It’s his business, not the nations. He’s done enough just letting us come along for the ride and claim his victories as our own. I also think it’s important for people who think like this to make themselves heard because the squeaky wheel gets the oil and in the past too many bigoted people have been yelling.

  • How does knowing anybodies sexual preference matter in the grand scheme of things? I really feel for Thorpie. I hope he finds whatever he is looking for. 🙂

  • Hear, hear! Well said! Perhaps you should rant more often… I totally agree with your opinion. The media and their opinion on our sporting hero’s is one of the big reasons I refuse to watch the Olympics. We claim their victories as our own, then crucify them if they don’t win, or “they look fat” (the last big Olympics issue), and now, carry on about their sexuality. It’s just not right. Well said, Bruce!

  • But isn’t people “caring” about others personal lives how the world goes round…its sad but true..how many magazines are there nowadays filled with crap that is honestly none of our business. It doesnt matter who it is from Hollywood stars to singers, royals and athletes. We all seem to feel the need to idolise these these people then get angry when we find out they are human…he doesn’t owe us any answers or apologies – we owe it to him for judging

    • About friends and family, sure. Not strangers. Even famous strangers. I don’t want ‘gay’ to be a ooooooo moment which gets ratings. I just want everyone treated equally and with respect, despite their preferences which are, I maintain, their business and not the nations.

  • “Being gay is not a choice, anymore than being straight…” I am so happy to see you say that, but sadly not everyone is of the same opinion.

    My son came out to us at the age of 16 (he’s 20 now), and none of us has ever had a problem with it, I still love my son to bits, as I do his sister but… we still haven’t told my parents. Long before Jonathan told us, they would talk about “those funny fella’s” who lived in their street etc. Now my parents are the only grandparents my kids have, and vice versa and I couldn’t bear the thought of my parents (in particular my dad) treating my son any differently because of this.

    • Maybe they’d surprise you 🙂 I know I’ve seen some changes in attitudes from friends and family the last few years. Part of it is education. If all they hear are people saying gays are ‘funny’ and it’s a choice then that’s what they naturally think. If suddenly they’re confronted with new information and a new public perception maybe they’ll come on board too. Not saying he should march in and make an announcement, but maybe with time…. 🙂

  • Let’s hope so Bruce, everyone else, friends and family know except his grandparents.

    On a different note… I love reading your blogs, they are informative and entertaining to read 🙂

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