Johnny Weir Recalls Being Told 'You Can't Be Gay' in Figure Skating

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday October 27, 2020

Johnny Weir
Johnny Weir  (Source:Instagram / @johnnygweir)

Champion figure skater Johnny Weir thrilled the audience of "Dancing with the Stars" on the program's Oct. 26 episode. He also shared a sensitive moment from early in his career, opening up about being told as a 16-year-old that "you can't be gay" and pursue a career in the sport, People magazine reports.

Weir's comments were part of an episode in which the contestants performed dance routines designed to follow a "Villain's Night" theme.

"I had just turned 16 and I was competing internationally at the Olympic level," Weir recalled on the program. The out athlete, now 36, recounted how "An agent approached me with my mom and said the world is your oyster and we're the agency that can take you where you want to be."

But then the agent dropped a bombshell, Weir added, recalling that "he then looked at me and my mom and he said if you work with us and we create this future for you, you can't be gay."

Weir described himself as having been "mortified" by what the agent said, People reported.

"My sexuality was not something that I'd really voiced because you're afraid of how something that is just inside you will affect other people and you can't fix that," the Olympian shared.

"And at 16 standing with your mother, that isn't necessarily a topic that you want to address."

Weir went on to recall how instantly supportive his mother was, telling him "we don't need them," and assuring him that, "You're just going to skate really well, you're gonna book the jobs by yourself."

It was a strategy that worked. Weir went to the Olympics twice, winning the bronze medal in 2008.

Added Weir: "I used all of that negativity to my advantage and became a national champion."

People recalled that in 2018 Weir addressed not having come out while still professionally active as a figure skater. In a tweet, Weir declared, "I wear my sexuality the same as I wear my sex or my skin color."

Weir went on to add, "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."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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