• Ian Thorpe is a former Australian swimmer who has won five Olympic gold medals. Thorpe came out as gay in July 2014. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Swimmer Ian Thorpe will make his first appearance at an LGBTI community event this month.
By
Drew Sheldrick

11 Feb 2016 - 9:56 AM  UPDATED 22 Feb 2016 - 11:06 AM

Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe will make his first official appearance at an LGBTI community event this month when he joins a panel as part of this year's Mardi Gras Film Festival (MGFF).

The swimmer will join fellow sports stars Matthew Mitcham, Sally Shipard, Daniel Kowalski, Shelly Gorman-Sandie and Casey Conway to discuss being elite gay athletes as part of the MGFF screening of Out to Win on February 28. 

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The documentary examines the lives of aspiring and professional gay and lesbian athletes, and features interviews with Billie Jean King, Jason Collins, John Amaechi, Martina Navratilova and Michael Sam. 

“We are thrilled to host so many Australian sporting legends at our screening and highlight one of our key themes this year which is a focus on LGBTIQ and equality in sport,” MGFF director Paul Struthers said.

“With the visibility of LGBTIQ athletes continuing to rise, and many deciding to come out during their careers, we are celebrating by presenting four excellent LGBTIQ sporting documentaries highlighting diversity at all levels of sporting competition.”

The event follows the launch of the world-first LGBTI Pride in Sport Index. Its co-founder, Andrew Purchas, said Australia’s sporting organisations are recognising positive steps need to be taken to ensure your sexuality, gender identity or intersex status does not impact your ability to play

"The Pride in Sport Index will provide sporting organisations with the opportunity to annually benchmark their inclusion efforts and promote equality in sporting opportunity," he said.

Thorpe came out in interview with British broadcaster Michael Parkinson in 2014. There's been some speculation he may be part of this year's Mardi Gras parade in an Australian Olympic Committee-endorsed float.

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