After gay skater Johnny Weir urged the LGBT community to drop their boycott over the Olympics, he is now defending his views, stating that he is “a hardcore Russophile” and views the boycott over Russia’s anti-LGBT laws as “silly.”
“To attack Russia is silly. I am not an antagonist. It is not Russia’s public’s fault that their government is so bigoted and creating so many problems for a minority group,” said Weir during an interview with the Today show. (In truth, Russian citizens hold the lowest opinion regarding LGBT acceptance in Europe.) “I think to help the local LGBT community, our presence is needed. It is so much more effective if we’re actually in Russia, showing our support.”
In June, Russia approved several anti-LGBT laws such as banning any forms of homosexual propaganda and disallowing foreign LGBT couples, or heterosexual couples from countries with marriage equality, from adopting Russian children. The newly implemented laws conflict with the upcoming Winter Olympics, which Russia is hosting, as several LGBT athletes and spectators will be present. Several advocates and celebrities spoke against the incident as well as many national gay bars refuse to sell Russian vodka.
“I never like to mix the things I was born with, whether it is me being white, or me being gay, with what I do on the ice,” Weir added.
Coming out in 2011, he hoped his presence would be served as a role model as well as noting that his orientation is self-evident.
“I am very gay. I give Sir Elton John a run for his money. I don’t know if there is anywhere more gay to go. With people killing themselves and being scared into the closet, I hope that even just one person can gain strength from my story.”
While Weir will not be waving the rainbow flag, fellow Olympian Blake Skjellerup will be wearing a rainbow flag pin for solidarity.
“I know people have been after this for years, and have worked so hard and tirelessly… They definitely wanted me to be an activist,” Weir concluded. “But the best way I can be an activist is to live my life, and not make that the main thing that is Johnny Weir. I’m much more than just a gay man.”