IAN Thorpe will join a panel of five other sporting champions as part of a panel discussion on gay athletes during the upcoming Mardi Gras Film Festival (MGFF).

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

The news also comes amid speculation he is being encouraged to join the Australian Olympic Committee-endorsed float at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on March 5.

Thorpe’s appearance at MGFF will take place following the February 28 screening of Malcolm Ingram’s documentary Out to Win (scroll down for trailer), which examines the lives of professional gay and lesbian athletes and features interviews with Billie Jean King, Jason Collins and John Amaechito.

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.

The panel discussion and the documentary screening come as part of ACON and Pride in Diversity’s newly-launched Pride in Sport program that includes the world-first LGBT Pride in Sport Index, which will seek to tackle homophobia in professional sports.

ACON vice president Andrew Purchas explained the importance of Pride in Sport: “Many of 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, watch or be involved with sport at any level.”

Queer Screen, organisers of MGFF, will feature three other movies as part of its Focus on Sport for the film festival.

MGFF details and tickets are available here.

The Star Observer is a proud media partner of the Mardi Gras Film Festival.

Click here to read all of the Star Observer’s coverage of MGFF

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