Self-proclaimed Russophile Johnny Weir really wants to go to the Olympics even though he’s worried about possibly getting beat up or arrested in Sochi come February. Serving Kosak Queen First Time in Drags at a Ball, Weir spoke to Keith Olbermann about why he’s against a boycott of the Olympics.
“It would be a slap in the face to the people that made me who I am, and gave me the opportunities to be who I am: an Olympian, first and foremost,” Weir told Olbermann. “Before a gay man, before a white man, I am an Olympian. That’s what I worked for from age twelve. And a boycott would negate all of that and also, it would basically punish all of the non-LGBT athletes that would be on the U.S. Olympic team for Sochi.”
Weir acknowledges that he has fears of going to Russia, where the government passed a law banning propaganda of “non-traditional sexual relations” around children. Some critics have accused the law of inciting homophobic violence, even though government officials have tried and tried to diffuse the international criticism by downplaying the existence of any discrimination and assuring that athletes and spectators will be safe at the Games.
“I’m worried things could be planted in my luggage and I get arrested,” Weir said. “I could be beat up on the street and no one would protect me because I’m gay. Those things are scary.” Though he previously said he wasn’t “afraid of being arrested,” Weir argues that getting locked up in Sochi won’t be “good for anybody.”
According to Johnny, “What we need to do is to be there, to be strong, to be united, all of the Western countries that support gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender unions and lifestyles and our ability to be equal.” The Bilerico Project‘s John M. Becker, however, takes issue with that, among many other aspects of Weir’s argument:
Ummmm, Johnny, it’s 2013, not 1983. LGBT people don’t have unions, we have marriages. We don’t have lifestyles, we have lives — sexual orientation isn’t some kind of lifestyle choice, it’s an immutable particular of a person’s humanity. Those terms may have been acceptable in the 1980s, but they sure as hell aren’t now. If you’re going to be working the talk show circuit, you owe it to your community to update your vocabulary.
For Johnny Weir, and probably every athlete competing at the Sochi Olympics, the Games are bigger than the politics involved. That being said, with an international stage, Weir and other LGBT athletes have the chance to, as he puts it, “empower the LGBT community of Russia and make them realize, and the Russian public realize, that I’m gay…I’m great and being gay has nothing to do with what I’m doing on the ice.”
That’s a nice statement and all, but let’s be real — being gay might have something to do with what you’re doing on the ice: