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.”