Opinion: Why Johnny Weir's Gayness At The Olympics Matters

In order to illuminate the importance of the openly fabulous Johnny Weir's presence as a figure skating commentator at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, I first want to whisk us away to the 2011 words of a douchebag. Before plummeting from grace as and coming out as the comedy world's very own Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. was the liberals' comedian  - an everyman who tackled right wing ideology and made headlines with impassioned anti-Trump sentiment, notably his viral 2016 email.

In his heyday, C.K. was enthusiastic backed by popular liberal comedians including icons like Sarah Silverman and Parker Posey, which made my discovery of his lauded "faggot" standup routine all the more disheartening and surprising. During his set, the straight comedian underscores the difference between gay-acting homosexuals and passably straight homosexuals, and he informs his audience that calling members of the former group "faggot" isn't only acceptable, but a nostalgic reminder of a better time for gays. The 70's and 80's:   

Faggot. I miss that word. I grew up saying that word, and it never meant gay when I was a kid. I didn't know what gay was. You know I hadn't been told that people do that. Faggot didn't mean gay. when I was a kid you call someone a faggot because they're being a faggot. ::simulates feminine wine:: 'Shut up faggot.' 

C.K. clarifies his point:

I would never call a gay guy a faggot unless he's being a faggot.

 

 

Gay men who can pass as straight have an upper hand in the gay world. They were able to blend into the wallpaper when need be. It doesn't take a gay anthropologist to identify the category of men C.K. is referring to. The sissies. Fairies. Flamers. The people who express gender differently than Louis C.K. himself does. The Jacks of the world versus the Wills. C.K.'s routine only underscored the fact that flamboyant gay men are still acceptable punchlines, and that we need more of them with more visibility to let men like Louis C.K. know that there's no acceptable time to call someone - especially someone who could be hyper sensitive about his gayness - a "faggot."

Our dear, queer, Johnny Weir got the message that mainstream audiences are in sore need of a gay education. Weir is an Olympic figure skater-turned-commenter who came out as gay after his turn at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. When pressed as to why he didn't come out before his time in the international spotlight, Weir demonstrated his couth and self-awareness with the response:

I wear my sexuality the same as I wear my sex or my skin color. It is something that simply is and something I was born into. I never “came out” in sport because I didn’t imagine it as a great secret & it had nothing to do with my skating or my dreams.

Weir continues this dedication to being his unwavering self as a commenter at the 2018 Olympic games. Weir's homosexuality on television isn't expressed through a peripheral gay bestie on a CW show. He's the main attraction. And people of all backgrounds are lining up. He is unabashedly the man I wish I could have seen on television when I was growing up in rural Appalachia.

All generations from all political backgrounds are huddled together learning about figure skating through Weir and co-host Tara Lipinski's sass attacks. NBC's authority on the sport all but blinds us with his sequences blazers and flashy statement jewelry. But he's not daring us to accept his sexuality with affected gayness - as C.K. might surmise. Rather, he's effortlessly winning us over by simply being his truest self. Audiences are not looking at a "faggot" on their screens. They're looking at a superhero in heels. Here to save us from the homophobic, convoluted mixed messages of an alleged sex offender.

 

 

 

 

 

      

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I couldn't disagree with you more, Mr. Kania.  I am a gay male and gay business owner who employs dozens of LGBTQ, and I support drag queens by hosting regular drag shows.  Weir embarrasses me and sets gay right back by decades.  There is a time and place for everything…it’s called decorum.  And Weir has none.  You could be totally straight and into 50 shades of bondage, but you don’t bring your assless, crotchless chaps and whip to a restaurant or worse – to church – to which I equate the nearly 3,000 year old institution that is the Olympics.  But that’s exactly what the selfish Weir is doing.  “Look at gay me; look at gay me” – never mind the importance of the athleticism and history that is the Olympics.  Weir’s outfits, fake hair, and worse – his “bedazzled microphone” – just make any heterosexual (even those trying to embrace homosexuality) cringe, and they most certainly embarrass gay men like me.  Weir’s actions just perpetuate the stereotype that gay men have no self-control.  And Weir is the poster child.  If Weir wants to come perform in a drag show for me, bring it on.  There are the right times and places for this.  I would never host a drag show at a children’s birthday party, but that’s exactly what Weir is doing at the Olympics, setting our progress in gay rights so far back.  I’m embarrassed by and ashamed for you, Weir.

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These games are not about you Mr Weir its about the athletes. You had your time in the Olympic spotlight and now its time for others but you are doing all you can to be, " Look at me look at me look at me". You are an embarrassment to the USA and to the Athletes you are trying to take the focus from. You are representing the United States not Johnny Weir. Act like a professional, dress appropriately and not as a distraction. Not the time and place for it. Its not your time anymore Mr Weir. Can't you atl east act like you have been there before.

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