A high-profile panel of Australian athletes, including Ian Thorpe, will get together to discuss the impact their sexuality has had on their careers at this year’s Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival.

It is the first public LGBT community engagement from Australia’s most successful Olympian, who came out as gay in 2014 during a televised interview with Michael Parkinson.

The panel will follow the film festival’s screening of documentary Out to Win on 28 February. The film, from director Malcolm Ingram, follows the lives of aspiring and professional LGBT athletes, featuring interviews with Billie Jean King, Jason Collins, Michael Sam, John Amaechi and Martina Navratilova.

Thorpe’s fellow panelists include former Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham, soccer star Sally Shipard, former Olympic swimmer Daniel Kowalski, basketball player Shelly Gorman-Sandie, and former rugby league player Casey Conway.

ACON vice president Andrew Purchas explained the importance of Pride in Sport: “Australia’s sporting organisations are recognising that positive steps need to be taken to ensure your sexuality, gender identity or intersex status does not impact your ability to play, watch or be involved with sport at any level.”

Festival Director Paul Struthers said: “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.”

Thorpe’s co-panellist Kowalski has called for Thorpe to be the star of the first Australian Olympic Committee-endorsed float at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade on 5 March.

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