The Australian boxer, who won bronze in the lightweight division at the 2020 Games, has been photographed in miniskirts and elegant gowns. In other words, his attire is fabulous.
But in the masculine world of boxing, Garside faces backlash over his bold fashion choices. He recently opened up about some of the venom he receives to another contestant on the Australian reality show, “I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!”
“People have often questioned my sexuality and been quite homophobic towards me,” he told another contestant, via the Daily Mail.
Though Garside identifies as straight, he’s a full-throated ally of the LGBTQ community, and anybody else who dares to be different.
Just look at his outfit at the GQ Awards. Those are some serious daddy leather boots!
Here is what Garside looks like without a shirt on, by the way. It’s unlikely any of his homophobic haters would insult him to his face — not with that six-pack.
“I hope that I’m being a good advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community and helping make more straight people start questioning their beliefs,” he said in an interview with DNA Magazine.
At Outsports, we often write about the importance of LGBTQ visibility in sports. The same goes for athletes, gay or straight, who challenge the more toxic aspects of masculinity. Garside says that’s one of his foremost goals.
“Young men often don’t have the emotional intelligence to understand why they are wrong,” he told DNA.
Garside knows the people who slander him for his attire are wrong, but he knows it’s easier for an Olympic boxer to have thick skin than, say, the kid at school who’s getting bullied.
“I am a straight man and I am very comfortable in my own skin, but I am lucky I have got thick skin but I am sure that if they are saying that to an athlete, who else are they saying it to?,” he told the Daily Mail.
A six-time Australian national champion, Garside’s flair for the flamboyant could come from his experience as a ballet dancer. He started boxing as a nine year old, and picked up ballet in 2019. He says the disciplines compliment each other nicely — just like a skirt and sharp black jacket.
“Being in a masculine very male dominated sport, it raises a few eyebrows. It is different,” he said.
Garside knows life would be easier if he conformed. But he doesn’t want to.
And why should he?
The man looks great in a dress.