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Ian Thorpe's image being used to promote gay dance party

Posted by: Michael James and Sam Drummond | 25 February, 2013 - 9:10 AM
Ian Thorpe closet party poster

A photo of Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe is being used to promote a Melbourne gay dance party.

The promotional poster for the 'Closet Party' features a black and white image of Thorpe above a slogan reading 'for homosexuals and those who love them'.


Neil Mitchell says the use of Thorpe's image in this context 'an absurd public insult to Ian Thorpe around his sexuality'.

Thorpe has denied being gay on a number of occasions, and has admitted to a long battle with depression in his latest book This Is Me.

David McCarthy, The President of Melbourne's Gay and Lesbian radio station Joy 94.9, told Neil the poster is making fun of a serious issue.

"They (The Promoters) don't realise the impact that this can have on young gay and lesbians that are wanting to come out.

"This sort of stuff is just a gutless attack and they are just trying to generate some publicity which unfortunately that's what they are doing. I think they should be ashamed of themselves," he said.

The poster has been circulated on social media sites and two have been displayed near on the corner of Brunswick & Leicester Streets in Fitzroy.

The promoters' facebook page also asks people to nominate their 'fav rumoured to be gay celebrity' in return for free tickets.

The event is being held at the First Floor nightclub in Fitzroy on Friday night.


IMAGE: The poster on display in Fitzroy (3AW)


CLOSET is billed as a night for homosexuals and those who love them. In other words, we create a place where people can come and enjoy themselves regardless of their sexuality – and we welcome Tom, Hugh, Oprah, Kristen, Ian, Joy FM staff and even Neil Mitchell if he feels so inclined.

Hundreds of young LGBT people in Melbourne and Sydney come to our parties, and have a great time. We're sorry if certain radio presenters aren't among them or have no sense of humour, but perhaps they should attend one of our parties before slagging them off on talkback radio.

Our posters are nothing more than a lightly tongue-in-cheek homage to celebrities much loved (and occasionally talked about) by the gay community. We're not claiming to know what goes on between the sheets of any celebrity* – gay, straight, out or closeted. (*Unless we've slept with them - which is none of your beeswax).

We leave prying into the private lives of famous people to the media.

We don't judge the decision to be out, or be closeted. That's a personal choice, and one that we hope is becoming easier.

If a celebrity isn't gay, but they are a gay icon – who cares? Wear it like Madonna, and be flattered by your same-sex admirers.

If a celebrity – or indeed anyone – happens to be any of the colours of the LGBTIQ rainbow, we hope they are proud of who they are, and we think it is a shame if anyone anywhere still feels being gay (or lesbian, bi, queer, trans or intersex) is something to be ashamed of.

We don't. We think being gay is, well, rather fabulous. And that's what CLOSET is all about.

LISTEN: David McCarthy speaks with Neil Mitchell

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3AW Mornings with Neil Mitchell

Neil Mitchell Neil is one of Australia’s most experienced journalists with success in newspapers, radio and television. He was one of the youngest editors of a daily metropolitan newspaper, The Herald.


Blog comments Your Say

  • many celebs are more than happy to be a gay icon and that is all this photo is being used as. to many he has become a gay icon, doesn't mean he has to actually be gay. is kylie gay? get the picture? gay icons are chosen by the gay community. they don't volunteer for it and don't get to choose.

    dingo Monday 25 February, 2013 - 7:56 PM
  • Has Thorpe raised this as an issue?

    Ivan@kinnane Monday 25 February, 2013 - 12:27 PM
  • @Mylene "Sticky taped to a pole" I didn't realise Thorpy poo had any fans in Poland.

    jgl Melb Monday 25 February, 2013 - 11:09 AM
  • Hugh Jackman was used on the previous one. Caught my attention. Great parties.

    Njk Monday 25 February, 2013 - 11:07 AM
  • I saw that sticky taped to a pole on Friday and had no idea who it was. Thanks Neil for pointing it out to all your listeners. ;)

    mylene Monday 25 February, 2013 - 10:22 AM
  • One can only assume Mitchell has contacted Thorpe to confirm he wasn't compilcit in this exercise.

    jgl Melb Monday 25 February, 2013 - 9:54 AM

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