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PopWrapped | LGBT

Johnny Weir Discusses His Experience In Sochi And His Role In The LGBT Community

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author

PopWrapped

Updated 03/9/2014 4:15pm
Johnny Weir Discusses His Experience In Sochi And His Role In The LGBT Community
Media Courtesy of HuffPost

Roxanne Powell

Content Editor

@roxipowell

Russia's anti-gay laws have stifled more than a few of their own natives, but to extend those laws to visiting athletes and commentators.... Russia, what are you doing? Johnny Weir, an openly gay retired ice skater, sat beside his best friend, Tara Lipinski, as a commentator for the skating portion of the Sochi Olympics. Due to his amazing sense of fashion and open views, he found himself targeted by Russia's anti-gay laws throughout his stay. While he says he did not feel threatened by anyone during his time in Sochi, Weir did comment on a few strange moments. One incident involved several confused men wondering if they had walked into the wrong restroom. "The worst thing that would happen was I would stand to pee at a urinal in the bathroom, and I'd have my hair and my pink blazers and everything. Gentlemen would come in, and they would look at me standing to pee, walk out to make sure they were in the right door, and then have to come back in and kind of give that strange look, like, 'You're a lady. Why are you standing to pee?'" Thankfully, that was as far as it went. Weir is a strong advocate for LGBT rights in his own community, and refused to take part in a Sochi boycott. But this did not stop him from speaking out in other ways. The lack of support for the Russian LGBT population, he says, is terrible. During his free time, Weir talked with several members of that community, letting everyone know he was there to help. But the most important advice, he claims, is to be yourself in spite of everything and everyone else. "Me dressing up, being myself on television, was simply that. I am constantly myself, and I had an amazing experience. I've never been to Russia and had a bad experience in my 15 years of traveling there. I absolutely love the country. They put on a beautiful Olympic Games." While this may not change Russia  right away, Weir is confident that once he has helped the United States march further into an equal future, then he can go back and help the people of Sochi and beyond. But until that time comes, he is happy just to spend time with his best friend, Lipinski. Together, they will sing and dance their way into everyone's hearts, while using their spotlight to help others. "I am not a politician, nor am I an activist. I like to live my life, I like to be happy, and I want my friends and family to be happy and successful. And for me, as far as activism and trying to fix something in the world? If I was to donate that time for myself to fixing anything, it would be my own situation in America. There's still a huge portion of the country I'm still not seen as an equal human to my best friend or my mother, and I think that needs to change before America can go around bossing the rest of the world around."

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