Rather than send a contingency packed with gay delegates to the Sochi Olympics, the president could have simply encouraged American representatives like former Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir to behave diplomatically by granting Vladimir Putin’s anti-homosexual propaganda law the same deference Obama demands for his bad laws here at home.
Twenty-nine year-old John Garvin “Johnny” Weir-Voronov (married name with husband Victor Voronov) is a gay activist who, supposedly based on his expertise in figure skating, was recruited by NBC Sports to be a commentator for the Sochi games.
Some Americans, Johnny included, are appalled that Russia, a sovereign nation, dared to adopt a nationwide ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” The law is viewed as anti-homosexual because it makes it an offense to even mention homosexuality around a minor, or provide children with information that rejects traditional family values.
So, rather than remain silent about something that doesn’t affect his life, Weir felt he had an obligation to find a way around Putin’s decree.
The former ice skating star must believe that American drag queens support Russia’s LGBT community, because Weir chose to do his commentary dressed in women’s clothes. That’s right, the face of MAC Cosmetics Glitter and Ice holiday line sits in the skating press booth in full girly regalia, with makeup, feminine blouses and kitschy costume jewelry.
Describing his outfit choices, Weir said they were a “cross between Coco Chanel and Brooks Brothers… [and]…Stanley Tucci’s character in the Hunger Games without the blue hair.”
Its likely Putin would view Weir dressing like a woman on TV as exposing Russian minors to gay propaganda. After all, there’s a good chance little Nikolai will ask Mama and Papa why the man discussing triple salchows wears lipstick and ladies’ earrings.
Thankfully, not every gay athlete is interested in turning the Winter Games into an opportunity to fly the gay pride flag. Ski jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria married her partner Isabel Stolz last year.
Of Russia’s law, a mature and polite Daniela had this to say: “I don’t think it’s a good idea to make protests here, no one cares … I know Russia will go and make the right steps in the future and we should give them time.”
Besides disrespecting Russian sensibilities in an extremely juvenile way, by dressing in drag Weir risks grouping Daniela Iraschko-Stolz together with him, which isn’t fair.
Meanwhile, beehive up-do and all, Johnny claims he’s conflicted on whether Sochi is the right venue to channel Divine. Johnny “the drag queen” Weir swears his outrageous behavior has nothing to do with politics.
Just last week Johnny said, “The Olympics are supposed to be about these wonderful athletes who are chasing these lifelong dreams, not politics.”
Speaking from the heart, the 2008 World Championships bronze medal winner shared the tension he endures as a gay male critic representing a sport that does not include same-sex figure skating pairs: “There is very little gray on this. It’s very black and white to a lot of people. If I support the Olympics I’m anti-gay people. If I take the other side, a lot of people will see me choosing the LGBT community over the Olympics.”
Who’s Johnny trying to kid? NBC Sports’ choosing the most flamboyant, outspoken homosexual figure skater in the history of the sport to be a commentator in Sochi is clearly their effort to inject politics into the Olympics.
As for Johnny, regardless of what he says, commenting on the Olympics in drag provides him an opportunity to be outrageous. And by doing so, whether Weir intends to or not, propagandizes Russia’s youth.
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