AUSTRALIAN opera singer Kanen Breen was called a “faggot” as he performed the national anthem before a basketball game between Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne on Saturday.

The 42-year-old singer wore a rainbow tie during the performance in Rod Laver Arena as a “protest“ to the issue of marriage equality.

[showads ad=MREC]As he walked to the microphone to sing, a man from the crowd shouted out the homophobic slur, clearly audible to the 15,000 people in the arena.

Breen performed the song nonetheless, finishing with a huge round of applause.

Those watching the televised broadcast on Nine Network’s GEM channel on Saturday night could not hear the slur over the commentary.

Afterwards on Facebook, Breen said he was moved by outpouring of support from his friends and across social media – many people changed their profile pictures to a rainbow tie in solidarity with him.

“I love my tie, and I wore it quite deliberately whilst singing about a nation that purports to be free and fair (but which clearly, for so many, is not) in a flamboyant little protest,” Breen wrote.

“Clearly one individual amongst the 15,000 basketball fans felt I was a little too fabulous — his problem, not mine. I learned a very long time ago not to value the opinions of people for whom I have no respect.”

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