Until yesterday, none of you knew he was gay. No, you did not. JJ Vincent didn’t either.
For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Brian Boitano was a champion figure skater in the 80’s and early 90’s. This was the era of sequins and sparkles and ruffles, when many the men on the ice looked like Liberace himself had blessed their costumes. Now, Boitano’s look was not as flashy as some. But he was, like most of the men before figure skating became the Battle of How Much Can We Jump, graceful, elegant, sometimes dramatic, definitely emotional. And to many who watched him, or watch him now, effeminate. Or in other words, gay. With a capital G. . Add to this a cooking show and wow, he’s….
HOLD IT! Hold it right there. Brian Boitano just came out. As in on December 18th, 2013.
Until that day, he had kept his private life private. Not that there wasn’t endless speculation. Between what he does (figure skating, dancing, cooking), how he looks on stage (costumes! make-up! flowing shirts! tight pants!), his other interests (cooking), his speech and mannerisms (definitely not macho), his reaction to his treatment by South Park (they love him and it’s mutual), his lack of a public girlfriend or willingness to talk about one….
Another figure skater, Rudy Galindo, did an amazing and scathing interview about people’s assumptions about male figure skaters. The title, ” So, they’re all gay, right?”, pretty much says it all.
In a nutshell, no, they are not.
But regarding Brian Boitano, within about an hour of his coming out, I lost count of the number of comments I read that basically said, “Duh!”, “We knew that!”, “Who didn’t know?”, “Obviously,” and the like.
No, you did not. Unless you had gained his confidence and he had told you personally, you did not know he was gay.
You made an assumption, based on stereotypes and how he fit them.
So, why is this news now? Why did he come out?
He was selected as part of President Obama’s delegation to the Russian Olympics. His coming out makes a full 60% of Obama’s athlete delegation (5 athletes) openly gay.
Now, according to his Press Secretary, the President’s selection of his delegation, which has no senior administration officials, is not politically motivated and has nothing to do with Russia’s recent anti-gay legislation. It is about diversity
Whether Brian Boitano had come out or not is irrelevant. It still would have been a diverse group.
But people would have assumed it did anyway, because Brian Boitano fit the Gay Man mold.
Even if he was the straightest man who had ever glided across the ice.
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My Life as a Male Figure Skater