When I was about 16 I was accused of being gay and because it was in that tone, I always thought of it as a negative, of not being equal.

It was frightening. I knew I should have come out earlier but I never thought that I could, I didn’t have the confidence to do it.

When I did come out it was to close friends and then my family which was the most difficult for me.

I struggled to come out but I don’t struggle with being out.

I come from a conservative family and my heart was racing. I had prepared for it and then I blurted it out and they quite simply told me that they would love me and always support me.

It was overwhelming and I was so pleased I would be accepted by my own family.

The way the country responded to me coming out was better than I could have hoped for.

I was proud how the majority of people in Australia said ‘that’s great, no big deal’ and the nonchalant response is how it should be.”

—  Five-time gold medallist Ian Thorpe, who came out in 2014,  speaking at an Australians 4 Equality event in support of marriage equality and anti-bullying initiatives in schools


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