REFLECTING on his own experience in revealing his sexuality, Rohan Van Wees wished he hadn't done it so soon.
The 24-year-old chef who grew up on the Capricorn Coast says "coming out" in a small town was difficult.
"Being gay and living on the Capricorn Coast was a challenge; I often thought to myself that I had to always be cautious walking down those streets alone and often looked over my shoulder," Mr Van Wees recalled yesterday.
"But I knew I had friends and family that were there to support me in any way I choose to be.
"I've been through a lot, but I still stand strong and in fact, stronger now. I am happy as the man I am today."
Mr Van Wees was reacting to Australian Olympic swim champion Ian Thorpe's decision to speak out about his sexuality.
Now living in the state's south-east corner, Mr Van Wees said Thorpe shouldn't have felt so much public pressure.
"I think it was great news that he decided to come out as a proud, gay athletic man, but I think the questions he was asked by the media went a bit too far," he said.
"I strongly believe that it isn't anyone's business knowing what or who he's involved with behind closed doors. That's his choice if he wants to talk about it."