Ian Thorpe’s Revelation confirms It’s Still not Okay to be Gay
While Australia’s reaction to Ian Thorpe’s revelation that he is not quite straight has been overwhelmingly supportive, it is self-evident by the very fact that he felt it necessary to remain “in the closet” for so long confirms the fact that in Australia it is still not okay to be gay.
And in the same weekend that Ian Thorpe made the brave decision to be upfront with the Australian public, the very ignorance and homophobia that compels people to be fearful of disclosing their sexual orientation was also on display.
As Geelong AFL player Harry Taylor was carried on the shoulders of his teammates for his 150th game on Saturday night, he farewelled the crowd with a royal wave.
“I am up here getting ready for the game and I’ve just seen that crap from Harry – he’s a big poofter,” Channel Seven commentator Brian Taylor said.
As Fairfax journalist Eryk Bagshaw observed, it was a remark displaying the casual homophobia that still permeates some living rooms, offices, bars and stadiums around the country, only this time it was heard on national TV.
Taylor’s fellow commentators chortled like an old-boys’ club.
The comments, made on the same night that Ian Thorpe announced that he was gay, held up a mirror to attitudes still faced by many gay athletes.
“It goes to the core of the problem that we have in this country,” said Andrew Purchas, founder of the Sydney Convicts rugby club, “The connotation of Brian Taylor’s comments was that [Harry Taylor] was doing something weak and unmasculine.”
It is not the first time Taylor has made a jibe about homosexuality on air.
“I don’t want to offend his upbringing or his parents … but he looks gay,” Taylor said of 3AW colleague Seb Costello earlier this season.
When these dinosaurs are no longer granted a microphone to broadcast their ignorance and stupidity perhaps Australia might be in danger of becoming a better place.