Wednesday, August 15, 2012

If London 2012 is intended to inspire a generation, a section of that generation - LGBT youth - have seen less than their fair share of role models. The reason is, at least in part, due to the very small number of sports people willing to self-identify as lesbian or gay.

Ian Thorpe, one of the BBC's commentary team for the Olympics, is occasionally thought to be gay - something he continues to deny. Thorpe is working on an autobiography and was interviewed recently by Daily Telegraph journalist Harry Wallop. Thorpe didn't wish to be questioned about his sexuality, but assures everyone that he isn't gay. Thorpe says he is hurt that people think he is not being honest about the issue.

So what is the truth about Ian Thorpe?

Several Internet sites suggest that Thorpe once claimed a "long-term long-distance relationship" with an American swimmer called Amanda Beard. However Ms Beard acknowledges a "friendship" with Ian, but says it was nothing more. So, is it just possible that Thorpe is gay, but nevertheless providing an honest response to questions about his sexual orientation?

Well maybe it depends on what makes a person gay, straight or bisexual. Is a person's sexuality defined by who they are/aren't sexually attracted to, or is it instead defined by who they're intimate with?

The media world is keen to seek out hetero romance stories, even to the extent, if there's nothing to say, of just making them up. According to (and many other media sources) Tom Daley and Kassidy Cook are boyfriend and girlfriend. But the Mstarz story is deceitful. It reports Kassidy as having tweeted "Words cannot describe how proud I am of Tom Daley. Literally in tears right now."

However, the actual tweets from Kassidy between 9.43pm and 10.24pm BST on 11th August were:-

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