Target: Ian Thorpe
Goal: Commend a former Olympian for choosing to publicly embrace his sexual orientation
Former Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe recently came forth and publicly announced that he is gay. Thorpe had been attacked by the media in the past for his sexual orientation, which he had denied for many years. Now, Thorpe has come to terms with his homosexuality and has publicly embraced his sexual orientation.
Thorpe is world renown for being the youngest male to represent Australia in the Olympics, and for being a five-time Olympic gold medalist. However, since retiring from the Olympics in 2006, he has been exposed by the media frequently not for his Olympics accomplishments, but for the media’s speculations on his sexuality.
Thorpe brought his true sexuality to light in an interview conducted by Sir Michael Parkinson, which aired on an Australian television network. In the interview, he exposed his private life struggles with depression, drugs, and alcohol, which had become so unbearable that he checked into a rehabilitation center earlier this year.
Thorpe also talked about how he had self-contradicting revelations after stating that he was not gay in his autobiography, This Is Me. In the insightful interview, he reflected how the denials that he had made to the public about his homosexuality had made it even harder to come out once he realized he was homosexual. According to The Guardian, Thorpe had stated, “I was accused of being gay before I knew who I was.” It was not until the past few weeks that Thorpe had even started to disclose his homosexuality to close family and relatives.
Many LGBT individuals face struggles similar to Thorpe’s, in that they have difficulty being open about their sexuality. In Thope’s case, being a high-profile celebrity made it even more difficult for him to have control over the privacy of personal information. Being told by the media who you are is a distressing experience that can lead to many hardships for the individual. Applaud the valiance with which Ian Thorpe professed his homosexuality to the mass media that once harassed him.
Dear Ian Thorpe,
It was quite admirable of you to come forth and publicly express your homosexuality. It was also great to hear that despite the statements that you have made in the past denying your sexuality, you had come to understand yourself and found the courage to state your sexuality through your own words and not the media’s dictated statements.
For a high-profile celebrity such as yourself, it must be quite difficult to maintain privacy in your personal life, but I thank you for professing your homosexuality and for inspiring other LGBT individuals to be open about their sexuality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Otourly via Wikimedia Commons