The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is recognizing Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir with its Visibility Award. But, as far as I can tell, Johnny Weir is not openly gay or bisexual. I’m not taking anything away from Weir, but this seems like a bizarre choice for such an award.

I find it respectable that Weir rejects labels and doesn’t want to be put in a box, but does that really qualify him to be recognized for an LGBT organization’s Visibility Award? What has Johnny Weir said or done that makes him worthy of recognition for “outstanding visibility”?

Weir has said, “I don’t feel the need to express my sexual being because it’s not part of my sport and it’s private. I can sleep with whomever I choose and it doesn’t affect what I’m doing on the ice.”

On the other hand, he’s also said, “I would marry a woman. I very well could. People laugh at me, but why is that so funny? I love women.”

Assuming he is indeed gay, if he doesn’t want to come out for whatever reason, that’s fine — I’m not judging him. But why is being given this award?

Tyler DeVere is a former editorial intern for QNotes.

8 replies on “Why does Johnny Weir deserve the HRC Visibility Award?”

  1. Whilst many of Johnny’s fans love him for his extraordinary beautiful and unique style of figure skating, the majority of his newer fans love him because of his self honesty and visibility. Since his reality show, Be Good Johnny Weir, first aired early this year the number of fans at his Facebook site has grown from about 20,000 to over 40,0000. Over 60,000 people follow him on Twitter. This does not take into account the equal or even greater number of his fans in Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and other countries.

    Many of Johnny’s fans are members of the LGBT community. Many of us have been moved by Johnny’s example to be more open and more honest in our own lives. One does not have to “come out” and announce “I am gay/lesbian/bi/or transgendered” to be strong in their personal identity.

    But, it has been in the straight fans that I have seen the biggest change. Folks who’d previously accepted Johnny as he is, but didn’t think about, or really know about the greater LGBT community and problems have started to become educated and thus, increasingly fierce allies of us who are LGBT, including Johnny.

    Your comments belie your ignorance about this young man and the many ways in which he has already “come out” without making any type of grand announcement.

    Transgendered youth look up to him. Gay and Lesbian youth look up to him, straight youth look up to him. If you ask them why, the answer is universally something like this: “Because he is awesome.”, “He is just himself, and he is fabulous, if you don’t like it, too bad.” “He’s so cool, thumbing his nose at those who try to define him!” “He’s like Lady Gaga, he makes it okay to be ourselves.” “He gives me courage to be who I am.” “Johnny Weir? Oh, I love him! I love how he is just himself.” “Oh? Of course he’s gay, I mean come on! He’s such a cool dude!”

    So, what has he done? He has been himself, despite the many pressures not to be, the many put downs, the too low scores… He has been himself and within that act is the “out announcement”. He is a shining example of the old saying, “the personal is powerful”.

    I suggest you hang out in his fan communities for awhile. You will find your answer there.

  2. *yawn* Ignoring the fluff piece comment.

    The reason why they picked Johnny Weir? People want to take a piece of whatever 15 minutes of fame he has and use it to sell tickets. If it works, it works.

  3. “It’s okay to be yourself” only makes sense in application to LGBT people — straights don’t need to be told this or think it or act on it. They already know that it’s okay to be straight. (In fact, it’s expected, encouraged, and enforced.) The saying makes sense for us to use because much of the rest of society says that it’s not okay to be different if different means being gay or violating gender norms. This guy does break gender norms, fine. He’s right to provide no ‘justification’ other than he likes it. If, however, he is gay (which seems probably), he needs to come out. By not doing so, and by saying instead, “I’m just who I am” he supports the idea of staying in the closet, a sophisticated one, but a closet none the less.

  4. I also find it extremely hypocritical that Johnny Weir appeared on the Chelsea Lately television show a few months ago and insinuated that his main skating rival–who is publicly straight and privately dates only women–was gay. Weir has always maintained that his own sexuality is a private matter yet he was willing to publicly question the sexuality of someone else. The other skater naturally did not want to call attention to the matter and Weir’s fans dismissed it as “Oh, that’s Johnny being Johnny” but I found it to be a highly reprehensible and hypocritical act which definitely changed my opinion of Weir as a person.

  5. Weir did not “insinuate” anything on Chelsea Lately. That whole thing was blown way out of proportion. Chelsea asked Johnny a question about rooming with Tanith (Lysacek’s ex-girlfriend) at the Olympics. Johnny got a devilish grin on his face and winked. Some folks took that simple wink as an “insinuation” that Lysacek is gay. Johnny quickly cleared up the misunderstanding, explaining that he was just trying to be cute, like, “haha, I got to room with Tanith and you didn’t”. To this day, I can’t believe that some people read so much into a freaking wink. Of course, those same people are the ones who already believe that Lysacek is gay, and they were just looking for a reason, even a ridiculously flimsy one, to shout it from the rooftops.

  6. “Of course, those same people are the ones who already believe that Lysacek is gay, and they were just looking for a reason, even a ridiculously flimsy one, to shout it from the rooftops.”

    Exactly. I would like to know what people would make out of that infamous wink if Evan would actually be straight from the beginning. I think they would have laughed about the antics of Johnny and thought exactly what “Jaded” wrote about Johnny : “haha, I got to room with Tanith and you didn´t.”

Comments are closed.