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People would yell homophobic slurs at me: Ian Thorpe

People would yell homophobic slurs at me: Ian Thorpe

LAST UPDATED // Monday, 13 March 2017 12:13 Written by // Cec Busby

Olympic champion Ian Thorpe ha revealed he was the victim of homophobic bullying before he came out.

The five time gold medallist revealed the news during a wide ranging interview with The Age to promote his involvement in the new ABC series, Bullied.

Thorpe told The Age’s Kate Waterhouse he hoped the show would spotlight the horrors of extreme bullying and assist in finding ways to remedy the situation.

“When I started this, I knew that I care about the kids but I didn't know that I would start feeling personally responsible for what happens for them, and how to fix this,” Thorpe said, before admitting he too had been subjected to bullying.

“I know what it feels like when you literally isolate yourself ...Even before I was "out", people would yell homophobic slurs and things at me. That didn't happen all the time, but it did happen from time to time,” he said.

The Olympian also explained his reasons for getting behind the current marriage equality campaign.

“I struggled to come out, and ... I realised what kind of impact that will have on young people to say, "The way that you are feeling is equal to anyone else" ...  They may feel like they are the only one in their town, and I don't want young people to go through that,” he said.

Thorpe told Waterhouse he struggled to come out to his family and as a teenager found it difficult to reconcile his sexuality.

“I never thought how enriched my life would feel, how much better my life would be [to come out]. I didn't think that way. I come from a conservative family. I didn't know how they would feel about it … I thought they would be OK but I didn't know until I told them.”

Part one of Bullied airs on the ABC on March 14 at 830pm. Part two airs on March 21.


Cec Busby

Cec Busby

Cec Busby is the news editor of SX and online editor of

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