21st Nov 2002 Thorpe set to become gay icon
Olympic swimming superstar Ian Thorpe is set to become a gay hero after rebutting rumours he is homosexual but saying he was flattered by the tag, a leading gay activist said on Monday. Thorpe, 20, said late on Sunday he believed people had labelled him homosexual because he was articulate, had an interest in fashion and did not resemble the stereotype of the macho Aussie bloke. "You know I'm a little bit different to what most people would consider being an Australian male," said the Olympic gold medallist and multi-world record holder. "That doesn't make me gay." But he added: "It's the most flattering thing that anyone can ever say because if someone wants to label you or claim you as part of a minority group, it means you must have some strength in your character or in what you do." Marcus O'Donnell, editor of the gay newspaper Sydney Star Observer, said Thorpe's straightforward response to the rumours would win him even more gay fans than he has already. "There have been a lot of rumours and a lot of speculation about Thorpie and really he has hit the nail on the head - it's because he doesn't measure up to the typical macho Aussie sporting hero," O'Donnell said. He said speculation about sporting personalities' sexuality was common because there was a lack of gay sporting role models, apart from a prominent Sydney rugby league player, Ian Roberts. "So when someone new comes along and he has some of what we read as the tell-tale signs - and he doesn't have a girlfriend - then it's natural to start speculating." But he believed the "Ian Thorpe phenomenon" was a telling sign that old stereotypes were breaking down. "It's perfectly cool now to be straight and have an interest in Armani fashion or pearl jewellery or Kylie Minogue, and why shouldn't it be?" he said. "It's great that Thorpe is now confident enough to address these rumours head on, and to do it in such a straightforward way. It could make him even more of a gay icon than he already is." Thorpe said that he believed people were too quick to make such judgments, resulting in a huge number of male celebrities and athletes having the same sexuality "question mark" hanging over their heads. He believed the rumours began because he was in the limelight and perceived as different. "I think it's because when I speak at engagements I try to speak as well as what I possibly can," he said. "I try to be articulate... I don't try and sound macho (with an) Australian accent just for the sake of having it. I have an interest in fashion, I have interests in things most people don't classify as being the macho male thing."
Apparently, he’s the Australian David Beckham. Hell, with a body like that and a smile like his? He can like all the fashion he wants and I still wouldn't kick him out of bed. He so has that cute Aussie surfer thing going for him.
But I still think I like Aaron Peirsol better. Can't explain why.
Quote of the Day: ““Coming at the target, you’re as straight as Magellan/if you’ve got a secret weapon, well you sure as hell ain’t tellin’/Cause your mouth made an offer that their bodies cannot veto/No woman can resist a man who looks good in a Speedo.” Tangerine Speedo, Caviar