It’s time we stopped pretending that every guy who sucks d*ck, as my friend Dan Savage would put it, is somehow an instant expert on our civil rights. Johnny Weir is living proof that you can be de jure pro-gay, and de facto anti-gay, at the same time.
Through the coverage of the growing international brouhaha over Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law and Russia’s imminent hosting of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the media has had a bit of a thing for asking former gay-Olympian Johnny Weir for his opinion on the entire mess. And Weir’s answers have been just that, a bit of a mess.
In addition to be a former Olympian, and gay, Weir’s husband is of Russian descent. So he’s been kind of a trifecta of inanity for the media. And he’s lived up to expectations.
Weir has been somewhat – how shall I say? – unhelpful in terms of his lack of support for the international effort to help the gay and trans communities in Russia. Weir seems to be letting his Olympian side take precedence over his gay side, routinely talking about how important it is not to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics, while not giving nearly enough lip service (in my opinion) to the cause of those we’re trying to help in this entire effort.
Weir didn’t disappoint last night when he went on Keith Olbermann’s ESPN show and dissed the effort yet again, this time decked out, oddly, in a Russian military uniform.
Weir started by talking about how important Jesse Owens’ victory was at the 1936 Nazi Olympics in Berlin. We’ve discussed that argument a few times:
1) Jesse Owens won and the Nazis still killed millions afterwards.
2) You can’t have a Jesse Owens moment at Sochi if it’s against the law for gay athletes to be out and the IOC tells gay athletes to stay in the closet.
3) Jesse Owens was treated like garbage when he got back to the US after his “victory.” If his victory didn’t change minds in America, I’m wondering how many it changed in Nazi Germany.
4) While other gay Olympians like New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup have promised to wear a rainbow pin during his competition at Sochi, Weir has made no such promise were he to make the American team. Why hasn’t he?
Weir then went on to say that “it’s not good for anybody” if gays get arrested at Sochi and the world learns how bad the Russian regime really is on gay and trans issues. Yes, we wouldn’t want the world to learn that lesson, would we.
Weir then talked about how it’s a terrible idea to boycott Stoli vodka because of the poor workers who will suffer. So I guess we don’t even boycott anyone, don’t ever hold any country or any company responsible for anything because at the end of the day, as Mitt Romney and now Johnny Weir will tell you, corporations are people.
Then Weir lays the big lie:
“There’s nothing good that can come from a boycott.”
It’s time to revisit the Dan Savage quote above. The only reason that Johnny Weir is even on Keith Olbermann’s show is because the boycott took an issue that most people didn’t care about and made it an international scandal with non-stop coverage going on seven weeks now. No one outside of the gay blogs and the very occasional news article was talking about Russia’s draconian crackdown on its gay and trans citizens, and it certainly wasn’t being discussed on a daily basis like it is now. Yet, just days ago, the issue was raised at the G20 summit by both President Obama and the British Prime Minister. The laser-like focus of the world on this problem didn’t occur by happenstance. It happened because some activists called for a boycott which caught the attention of the gay community, the media and the world.
Then, just when you thought Johnny Weir couldn’t be a greater idiot than he’s already proven himself repeatedly to be, Weir actually has the audacity to claim that situation gays face in Russia is the same one he faces in New Jersey, because New Jersey doesn’t recognize his marriage.
Johnny, the day anti-gay vigilantes kidnap you, beat you, torture you, force you to drink urine, and the American government ignores the crime because they just don’t like the fact that you’re gay, then we’ll talk about the equivalence between Russia’s horrific treatment of its gay and trans populace and the fact that Governor Christie can’t decide whether he thinks you should be able to get married.
But isn’t that what’s really underlying Johnny Weir’s pro-Russian ambivalence about this entire issue. Weir simply isn’t convinced that what Russia is doing to its LGBT citizens is any big deal.