Coming out of the closet

Ice Skater Johnny Weir SOURCE: (
Ice Skater Johnny Weir SOURCE: (

Athletes always accept criticism from their coaches when they try to improve their game, but when it comes to their private life, it’s another story.

People seem to think that judging people, especially athletes are fun because they are strong minded and it doesn’t hurt them. Wrong. They are human and of course they have feelings; especially the people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender.

Every so often a new story hits the headlines that an athlete is gay or lesbian and takes criticism from the public. This was the case for Johnny Weir.

Johnny Weir is one of our recent athletes who announced his sexual orientation early this year. Johnny, who is a three time US Champion for figure skating has been openly gay for years, but only to the people in his private life.  He had always avoided questions when it came down to his sexual orientation, due to the fact that he didn’t want to be labeled and be defined by them.

Weir’s quoted “I’m not ashamed to be me. More than anyone else I know, I love my life and accept myself. What’s wrong with being unique? I am proud of everything that I am and will become.”

Being unique and different has always been hard, especially in the past.  Americans has finally been more open to accepting gay and lesbians, so it is understandable to why there are more openly gay and lesbian athletes.

Athletes are always headlines in the media, whether it is their unbelievable play or their screw ups on the field. However, when it comes to their sexual orientation all media stops and focuses on their personal life and will never focus on their amazing abilities as a professional athlete. That was the reason Johnny never wanted to announce his orientation, not because he was ashamed, but because they would never focus on his amazing triple axel or his glides across the ice.  “All the gay websites couldn’t figure out why I was such a jerk that I wouldn’t talk about it.  But pressure is the last thing that would make me want to ‘join’ a community. …The massive backlash against me in the gay media and the community only made me dig my ‘closeted’ heels in further.”

People need to know that nothing should stop you from being who you want to be. Having that special talent and striving for the higher level is something you shouldn’t give up just because you are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgender. Look at Johnny, a three-time US National Champion, 2008 Worlds bronze medalist, a two-time Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, and the 2001 World Junior Champion.  He never took his sexual orientation to the field when he skated.

Work hard, be yourself, and you can achieve. Never lie to yourself and understand that the people who care about you will always be by your side.