Monday, February 20, 2006

GAYlindo and Big Butt Weir

It's Not Right to Put Johnny on the Spot

This is a response... you can read the OpEd if you want or skip it.

Why *isn't* it "right" to put Johnny on the spot about his sexuality? Who's right?

You know, I was willing to agree with the idea that Weir shouldn't be made to say the words, "I am gay," until I saw that Rudy Galindo was involved.

Do you know Rudy? He was a poor Hispanic guy from a trailer park in TX who was, perhaps, the first brave male soul to come out in figure skating history. In fact, he is also HIV +. If Weir's "showing but not telling" makes him an interesting story today, it is only because of Rudy Galindo. Galindo was never supported the way Weir is. People always talked about how flamboyant Galindo was, but never what a great athelete he is and how brave he was to be as out as he was and to skate as he wanted to.

Per usual, I see something hidden here... or a privilege being extended here... one that seeks to make one of these two gay skaters exempt while one of them was never allowed to be exempt... one that is granted to one of these gay skaters because he is white.

As the article states, it isn't difficult to put two and two together in regards to Weir's sexuality. However, as an out person, I know there is nothing more life changing that being able to speak the words clearly, "I'm gay." After that, then you can remake your life in anyway you want, in anyway you deem fit and possible. Might as well come all the way out of the translucent closet, Weir. Long time viewers, like me, knew you were gay the first time you skated in senior competition. We were thrilled. However, back then, when your jumps didn't, I said it was because of your lush and plump booty and knew you would come back strong.

What really stikes me as funny about Weir, and maybe about all the young queers coming up, period, is the way in which they all seem to think they are the first ones to do anything and never look to their elders to see what was done. Instead of Rudy talking to the media, I wish he had spoken to Weir. Instead of Weir pulling a young version of B.O.Q. (bitter old queen -- forgive me for the terminology), I hope he talks to Rudy. That would make me happy... because Galindo was given the shortest stick possible... and we ALL know he was not the first fairy to strap on a pair of boots, nor will Weir be the last. However, what Galindo reminds us is that we can't celebrate as if he was the first -- he wasn't. He's the first white one. Amazing how that can still mean something although we say and make noise that it doesn't.

But also, there is no precedent regarding when someone can speculate about someone's sexuality. None at all. In fact, most people think everyone is heterosexual (which is why I think heterosexuals should have to come out... however, the unpopularity of this position makes it clear to me that perhaps the reason why hets don't come out is because sexuality is complicated. Don't take my word for it. Take the word of the white guys on Craigslist M4M who cruise for sex with another man because "my wife has gone away"....) unless they say something to the contrary. For some people, like Galindo, Weir and even myself, our closets are pretty translucent anyway. You can see inside, see the pink ribbons and shiny tiara even while we try to deny it or at least keep it covered (or on the "DL" -- to go all the way there in yet another expression of the dreaded term). For people living in translucent closets, closets no one would be "surprised" -- putting the words to it instead of struggling in some strange Liberace existance is a GOOD THING. I know I wanted to straddle that line. I wanted to "be" but never "say" -- never own it, never claim it in fear people wouldn't like me anymore. I found some people like me because of it. Some people hate me because of it. But there are some people who like *me* because I'm thoroughly me.

Besides, there's a feeling of liberation that comes with owning. Galindo was not a good or even great skater when he was with Kristy Yamaguchi, being a sad, closeted queen (sometimes, I think pairs and ice dancing guys are the gayest of the all... well, maybe now. Then... I think of Jeffery Butte and go, "Hmmm...."), however, once he came out, embraced himself fully, his skating was *phenonmenal*. Doesn't mean he didn't choke sometimes, but it does mean being able to be himself fully made for a more complete skater. A skater who was using the ring to communicate a point-of-view, to create art, not to prove strategic prowess (Ok, watching Plushenko jump was... marvelous, but it was skating without a point. It was not transcendent).

I guess my ultimate point is... what is served when we allow people who are *this close* to just BEING out to stay in that comfort zone? When Luther Vandros died, no one really knew who he was, who he loved. It made some of his scratch our shaking heads... because Vandros didn't have "any love" -- he had *his* love. Who was that? Weir has *his* love -- and he is not merely a "someone." Do we really want to conspire to keep this child closeted when he is chomping at the bit to come out, to REALLY come out? It could be the thing his self-esteem needs... to know he can do it and that there are so many people who support him... should we really allow ourselves to allow Weir to be closeted? I mean, he's begging for it. His nickname is "Twinklebell" for crying out loud.


I love Weir as much as anyone else. But I don't think anyone understands the situation as much as those of us without a real closet to hide in in the first place. Besides, I don't think being "gay" should ever be regulated to something that "isn't important" because I think love is always important. Call me a romantic, but I like knowing who my friends are screwing and developing emotional attachments to... it makes me human. I like knowing that the cute queen I see on my TV is really who he seems to be and that it isn't some publicity ploy. I like seeing cute queens, like Galindo, skate free and liberated... free of gendered conceptions of the men's skate.

I don't think the question about Weir's sexuality is unnecessary. He flames all over the set whenever he can. Might as well complete the rotation and sail out of it clean and certain -- owning who he is and who/how he loves.


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