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Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer Ian Thorpe Just Revealed He Is Gay — Here’s Why It Matters

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After years of insisting he is straight, Australian Olympic gold medal icon Ian Thorpe has just revealed he is gay. Here’s why it matters.

“For the record, I am not gay and all my sexual experiences have been straight. I’m attracted to women, I love children and aspire to have a family one day … I know what it’s like to grow up and be told what your sexuality is, then realising that it’s not the full reality. I was accused of being gay before I knew who I was.” — Ian Thorpe, in his 2012 autobiography, This Is Me.

No Australian swimmer has won more Olympic gold medals than 31-year old Ian Thorpe. Five, including three gold and two silver at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

For years rumors circulated around Thorpe’s sexuality, and for year he graciously but fervently denied them. 

But in an exclusive interview with Sir Michael Parkinson, reported in the Sunday Telegraph, Thorpe comes out as gay.

It’s understood the interview, which Parkinson has described as one of the best he has ever conducted, includes a full admission from Thorpe that he is gay despite having dated women in the past.

In the emotional sit-down shot last month, Thorpe also details the years of depression he has battled while denying his sexuality from the world. Part of that concealment included his own autobiography This Is Me, published in 2012, in which Thorpe wrote that he found questions about his sexuality hurtful.

It followed more than a decade of denials — the first of which came just as his career skyrocketed at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, when he was just 15.

“The thing that I find hurtful about it is that people are questioning my integrity and what I say. That’s the only part I find hurtful, that this is something I would be embarrassed about and that I would hide,” Thorpe wrote in his book.

In 2011, Thorpe told London’s The Sunday Times newspaper of his ­frustrations.

“I don’t think anybody has a right to write about (my private life), but I don’t care enough about it to be bothered. If you try and fight it, you’re damned; if you don’t, you’re damned.”

The Telegraph adds that “Gold medal-winning diver Matthew Mitcham, who also has revealed he is gay, said last night he hoped Australians supported Thorpe.”

“I can totally understand how difficult this whole process has been for him,” Mitcham said.

“I really hope this process gives him some peace and that the media and the public give him the same respect and the same overwhelming support I received in 2008. The Australian public and media have a really wonderful opportunity to set an example for kids who are in Ian’s position.”

Thorpe is an international figure who has the ability to break down barriers. In a rapidly-changing world, perhaps the majority of Americans will yawn or shrug, say, “Who cares?” or “Who cares!” but the fact remains that in the U.S. the majority of states still make it legal to fire an LGBT person for being LGBT — or even a straight person for being perceived as LGBT. And only about half of America lives in a state where same-sex couples can marry — and that number has essentially doubled in the past year.

People in the U.S. still believe, as one commenter on The New Civil Rights Movement’s Facebook page said as recently as today on a story about same-sex marriage in Utah, “Another win for the Devil. This nation is going to be destroyed for the sins it is allowing to continue.” Or, as another commenter, believing they are being tolerant and supportive, offered these grossly hypocritical words.

I can only truly speak for myself but Mormons aren’t homophobic. We just don’t support the act of gay sex or even the attraction to the same sex. The problem is that most Mormons out there are trying to push their beliefs onto other people. Although I don’t support gay marriage, it doesn’t bother me that gays exist. People should worry about their own salvation. If you want to sin, more power to you. I’m strong enough for it to not effect me. I do, however worry that my son is going to think it’s normal. The truth is that it’s not. That’s not the way God intended humans to be. 

I have a theory that gays are natures way of world population control. This planet is crowded enough as it is. Pros and cons..

Yes, “Mormons aren’t homophobic,” and “gays are natures [sic] way of world population control.” Do you see the hidden homophobia?

Meanwhile, around the world, being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is illegal in over 80 countries. In ten of these countries, being gay subjects an LGBT person to the death penalty. 

Ian Thorpe coming out as gay won’t change any law, but perhaps it can help change hearts and minds — of adults, and kids, especially those growing up and being told being gay is an “abomination,” “of the devil,” and “sin.”

Thorpe coming out is just one more example of the power people gain by being honest with themselves and the world. What Ian Thorpe chooses to do next is entirely up to him. But his prior accomplishments make him an amazing ambassador for the LGBT community, just as Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Daley, Dustin Lance Black, Michael Sam, Ellen Page, Wanda Sykes, Anderson Cooper, and so many others have become.

Congratulations, Ian, for being brave. And thanks. For all the kids who need to know that LGBT people are equal.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Thinly-Veiled Incitement to Violence and Overt Racism’: Trump’s Truth Social Post Sparks Outrage

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Donald Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” but on Friday night took his social media approach to his Truth Social website.

Trump accused Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of having a “death wish” after a government shutdown was averted.

“Must immediately seek help and advise (sic) from his China loving wife, Coco Chow!” he said of Elaine Chao, who served in his cabinet for four years as Secretary of Transportation.

Trump’s post generated outrage online.

“Nothing to see here,” conservative lawyer George Conway tweeted. “Just a former president of the United States seeking to incite violence against the minority leader of the United States Senate and launching a racist verbal attack on the leader’s wife.”

Former federal prosecutor Shanlon Wu wrote, “Donald Trump using blatant racist tactics in his desperate attacks on McConnell by trying to ridicule Asian American former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao’s name calling her ‘Coco Chow’ — [McConnell] and [GOP] should call him out and reject his racist hate — will they do it?”

“Hardly shocking that Trump would threaten Mitch McConnell by capitalizing the words ‘death wish’ — dog whistle invitation to Trump’s extremist supporters — same Trump who believed his own VP Pence deserved to be lynched by the angry Jan. 6 mob Trump incited to violence,” Wu added.

Janai Nelson, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, wrote, “I double dare all major media outlets to call this what it is: thinly-veiled incitement to violence and overt racism.”

Podcaster Fred Wellman said, “Elaine Chao was Trump’s Secretary of Transportation for 4 years and he just called her the ridiculously racist nickname ‘Coco Chow.’ Yes…you are a racist if you still support this broken *sshole.”

Jonah Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of The Dispatch, wrote, “Look, I think the gross bigotry, stupidity, dishonesty, and demagoguery of this is obvious on so many levels and I’m embarrassed for the country. But, because no one else will, I feel I have to point out he also misspelled advice.”

 

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Republicans suggest defunding Veteran Affairs even though it helps 9 million vets

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Republican legislators are starting to suggest defunding the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the office founded in 1989 to assist with veteran needs. The VA assists with getting veterans mental and physical healthcare, educational opportunities, community support, and other everyday housing and living needs.

An Arizona legislator, captured on video participating in a mock congressional hearing, said he supported shutting down the department.

“That’s sort of what I’m thinking because … I hear no good stories. I had zero in my district,” the legislator said in a video posted by the far-right watchdog group Patriot Takes. “So I guess it’s a matter of us leading the fight to defund it.”

A second video, posted by the same account, showed Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz advocating for defunding the VA while speaking at an event held by FreedomWorks, a conservative and libertarian advocacy group.

“This is my question to the group. Is it savable? Why not abolish the VA, take all of the money that we are otherwise spending and go to an any willing provider system inside of our communities?” Gaetz says in the video. “And then, if people get bad care, they can vote with their feet and you don’t have a two-tier system of healthcare in this country with our veterans and then with everyone else.”

Generally speaking, Republican policies favor the privatization of all government functions, thinking that a “small government,” “free-market,” “for-profit” privatization provided by a corporation can solve any market ill.

In reality, if entire communities are deprived of VA access, U.S. military veterans will be left largely on their own to get their life needs met after military service. Those who lack money or transportation won’t be able to “vote with their feet” and find a local care provider to handle their specific issues… they’ll either have to spend massive amounts to get such essential care or just go without.

In late July, 41 Senate Republicans voted against a bill aimed at protecting veterans exposed to toxic materials during their military service. The legislation would have expanded care to 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. It would have also added 23 toxic and burn pit exposure-related illnesses to the VA database, Newsweek reported.

After massive blowback, Senate Republicans re-voted on the bill and helped it pass.

Patriot Takes posted the video hoping that it would encourage veterans and military members to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections.

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'PRIORITIES'

Red states are lining up to stop Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

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Six red states — Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina — are suing the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden over Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for individuals making less than $125,000 a year.

The Biden administration based its plan on a 2003 law. According to the Justice Department, the law, initially meant to help military members, says that Biden can reduce or erase student loan debts during times of national emergency.

The red states’ lawsuit, filed Thursday in Missouri, said that Biden’s plan was “not remotely tailored to address the effects of the pandemic on federal student loan borrowers.” The lawsuit adds that, since Biden recently declared the COVID-19 pandemic as over, he can’t use it as a justification for his wide-scale debt relief plan, ABC News reported.

“It’s patently unfair to saddle hard-working Americans with the loan debt of those who chose to go to college,” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said of her state’s lawsuit. “The Department of Education is required, under the law, to collect the balance due on loans. And President Biden does not have the authority to override that.”

The states argued that Biden’s plan inflicted a “number of ongoing financial harms” to student loan providers and also “will ultimately disrupt revenue to state coffers.” They also argued that Biden’s plan violates the Administrative Procedure Act, a law regulating how federal agencies ensure that presidential policies are well-reasoned and explained, the aforementioned publication reported.

Despite these claims, the White House has said it will continue with its plan, confident it can survive a court challenge.

“Republican officials from these six states are standing with special interests, and fighting to stop relief for borrowers buried under mountains of debt,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said Thursday. “The president and his administration are lawfully giving working and middle class families breathing room as they recover from the pandemic and prepare to resume loan payments in January.”

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