Johnny Weir officially comes out in new memoir

weirUntil now, Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir has always avoided confirming what he’s never actually tried to hide – he’s gay. But in his new memoir, Welcome to My World, Weir finally says it. In an excerpt in People, he speaks lovingly about the parents he’s said before raised him to have respect for others and himself. “My parents never made me feel odd, even though I definitely didn’t act like all the other kids,” he says. “That’s why I believed in myself.” He talks about the moment he first knew he was “different.” “Watching Richard Gere in Pretty Woman at the tender age of six was when I had first realized there was something different about me. I wanted to be Julia Roberts so badly. Kissing seemed like a weird thing to do, but I knew if I was going to do it, it would be with Richard Gere.”

He knew he was gay by the time he hit puberty, Weir writes, but it wasn’t until he was 16, that he first kissed a boy. He and a fellow skater began a clandestine relationship, and he came out to his mother after his 18th birthday. At first she cried, and he understood. “No mother wants to hear her son say he’s gay. Those two words rip the picture of a daughter-in-law and grandchildren into pieces. I felt sorry for my mom and wanted her to know everything was going to be all right.” But then she said, “I don’t really care, Johnny, as long as I know that you are going to be happy.” He had a serious, secret relationship with another skater, who he only names as “Alex.” Weir says those who wield power in the figure skating world “rail against” its image as “the gayest sport in the universe,” and, therefore, gay skaters are scared to show any signs of their orientation because the judges will hold it against them. “One had to act like a man. On skates and in sparkles,” he says.

Of course, Weir was nothing if not defiantly flamboyant on the ice rocking a tassel, so why wouldn’t he just come out when so many gay websites downright demanded it? “But pressure is the last thing that would me want to ‘join’ a community,” he writes. He may be gay, but it’s not what defines him. He has what he sees as stereotypical gay traits (“I love flowers, fashion, and I’m an ice skater, for Christ’s sake”), but as he sees it, he’s also got the characters of a stereotypical Jewish mother (he wants to feed you), and “a regular ol’ rural male” (he’ll get his hands dirty). “The massive backlash against me in the gay media and community only made me dig my ‘closeted’ heels in further.”

Read the full excerpt in the new issue of People. Weir’s memoir hits shelves Jan. 11. He says he wanted to come out on his own terms, at a time when, in light of recent gay teen suicides, he thought his story could help others. I believe him: When he held a press conference last February at the Vancouver Games to address remarks made by two veteran sports commentators suggesting he should undergo a gender test, Weir spoke equally as eloquently: “Even my gender has been questioned. I want that to be public because I don’t want 50 years from now more young boys and girls to have to go through this sort of thing and to have their whole life basically questioned for no reason other than to make a joke and to make people watch their television program,” he said then. He summed up his message (“I hope more kids can grow up the same way that I did and more kids can feel the freedom that I feel to be themselves and to express themselves”) and his belief that the concepts of masculinity and femininity are old-fashioned. “There’s a whole generation of people that aren’t defined by their sex or their race or by who they like to sleep with,” he said from Vancouver. “I think as a person you know what your values are and what you believe in, and I think that’s the most important thing.”

Read more: Johnny Weir responds to commentators who questioned his gender, example he sets

Comments (80 total) Add your comment
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  • Tye-Grr


    • rerun

      I have to admit- the headline made me laugh and open this.

  • Candacetx

    …and in other news: water is wet

    • Captain Obvious


      • Candacetx

        my point exactly

    • Candace

      haha brilliant!

    • Heather P

      The sun rose today too.

  • Karate Pants

    What??? Why do all of my crushes end up being gay?

    • Tye-Grr

      Get your gaydar repaired STAT!

      • Karate Pants

        I was kidding, of course. Well, not about having gay crushes, that part is very real. Just kidding about him.

  • Abe Froman

    I am shocked I tell you. Shocked!

  • stephen

    C’mon Anderson Cooper… you’re up!

    • Sarah

      Jake Gyllenhaal first!

      • dammmm

        I’ll second the Jake. Although he dated Taylor Swift. I am thinking that dating Taylor Swift, Jennifer Aniston, or Renee Zellweiger automatically makes a big glittery neon unicorn appear over your head.

    • Mark

      He’s up? Where?! lolol!

  • Mel

    It is not like I am surprised but I like that he answered questions so, well, eloquently. He is not my favorite skater, but he seems like a good guy.

    • Oh please…

      Johnny is a crybaby Diva average ice skater. Good guy he is not.

  • Zach

    Slow news day?

  • BeBe

    Did he really have to come out in the book just look at the cover!

    • Shannon

      But, I remember knowing instantly when I first saw him in his glammed-up Edward Scissorhands-esque ice-skating get-up.
      I thought, “Who the heck is that awesome gay guy?”

      • Mark

        No, Shannon. You thought wouldn’t it be nice to run my hands all over that costume and what’s inside. Then you ventured towards Tara, struck up a convo, made a deal and made your dreams come true. And now you, Carin (oops, Karen), Paris (hi, bitch) and other Jewish females within his inner circle want to keep all the goodies to yourselves. Yes, I’m a gay man and this is my take on your play. Deal with it, bitches.

  • Prunella Von Schleidlhaagen

    Why was he watching Pretty Woman at the age of six?

    • Karate Pants

      Ha! Good point.

    • Shannon

      I was watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show at a not-much-older age.
      It fascinated me.
      Chucky, however, scared the crap out of me.

    • Karate Pants

      Wow, really? I guess I was just more of a USA Cartoon Express kind of 6-year-old. So sheltered. ;)

    • MCS

      That was what I thought.

    • Heather P

      Yep I dressed up with my sister and cousin and snuck into the theater at age 14. Ironically my sister was the only one who was carded and she was 20.

    • Mark

      My point exactly. The movie is rated R and he was six? The official released date of Pretty Woman is March 23rd, 1990 so this would put the release before his 6th birthday on July 2nd, 1990. The first release was a VHS tape release during the year 1992, which would be after his sixth birthday. So, did Johnny ask to see this on his birthday? If so, its a hell of a birthday present for a six year old. Where was mom and pop and why was Johnny allowed to watch a movie about a prostitute? So many questions. So little time.

    • Stephanie T.

      Big deal. My mom took me to see Flashdance when I was 7. That too was an R rated film. It should have been PG-13 but that rating did not exist until 1984.

  • Shannon

    I wonder how long it will be before just about everyone else in Hollywood or the skating world, etc. finally comes out of hiding.
    The ones who actually *were hiding, that is.
    Oh man, just the thought is exhausting me.
    That’s a whole lot of de-closeting.
    I’ve always gotten a kick out of Johnny and admired his boldness, eloquence, and sense of humor.
    More gay power to him.
    If it’s possible.
    I guess his little friend Paris really always was nothing more than a friend?
    I certainly hope so.
    He can do so much better.

    • Tipper

      Shannon + Enter key = true love

      • Shannon

        Aww, you’re sweet!
        Thanks, Tipper!

    • Really?

      Shannon + Attending an English class = Better writing

      • Shannon

        Yeah, I know. You think I abuse the Enter key. Well, I’ll consider cutting down. Perhaps my English professors will appreciate it.
        I have a Bachelors in English by the way. Graduated Magna Cum Laude.
        It’s just a message board, my dear.
        You can abuse whatever keys you wish. Or rely heavily on fundamental math.

    • Mark

      No, Shannon. We all know Johnny and Paris were f***ing each other that whole time. Isn’t that your point. Johnny can do so much better. True. But who? YOU? You’re so transparent and stupid, it hurts.

      • Shannon

        Nope, not me. Just never liked Paris.
        This makes me stupid? No, sorry.
        If I actually were stupid, I might actually believe you.

  • KR

    Geez…Elizabeth II will never be as big a Queen as this twit! Grow up kid, just because youre gay doesn’t mean you have to behave like a total woman.

    • Shannon

      Here we go, folks…
      The first negative post.
      He’s not behaving like a “total woman”.
      He’s behaving like himself.
      I’m female and I never had the urge to “rock the tassel”.
      It’s called the right to self-expression and individuality.

      • Karen

        Bravo Shannon, couldn’t agree more.

      • rudewaitress

        Apparently Shannon and Karen are big fans. All well and good. But face it girls, he’s more of a girl than the both of you. Sure we’re all entitled to freedom of expression but I think he enjoys the controversy that only keeps him in the (shallow) limelight. I’ve known many gay men and I have no doubt that the majority are embarrassed by his over-the-top sissy behavior. It’s no wonder so many people think unfavorably of gay men when someone like this has to go out of his way to flaunt his feminine side. Believe me, I know his chromosomes were unfortunately split with a female edge, but he’s old enough now to have gone through his ‘self-discovery phase’ and can at least get rid of the high heels. What he once thought was cute (as you both still seem to think so) has become rather sad and pathetic, as is the case for any adult who refuses to grow up.

      • 101flyboy

        And here comes the misogynistic remarks.

        Femininity is a gender thing, not a sexuality thing. Secondly, gay men actually have more testosterone, there is a reason they like men. Thirdly, as we are seeing, gay acceptance is on the increase. Regardless, being a man or woman is determined by a body part. There is no “acting” as a man, or “acting” as a woman. He’s free to act as true to himself, and guess what, he’s not the stereotypical guy. He’s DIFFERENT, and trust me, much more mature than you, rudewaitress. MUCH more mature, with the s**t he puts up with, and stands strong against. He’s a unique and interesting individual to many, but some people just can’t handle a guy who isn’t ashamed to be out, loud and proud, and wear some sequins instead of boots and jeans. The only person I see pathetic here is you, railing against someone on your computer, someone much more successful than you’ll ever be.

      • Shannon

        It’s too bad you couldn’t take the time to actually get the opinion of the “many gay men” you’ve known on Weir’s so-called “sissy behavior” or that kind of behavior in general before forming your own on what gay men find offensive.
        I guess it wasn’t a water cooler moment and that’s fine.
        I understand you don’t find his antics amusing, but to call him more estrogenic than your average female is insulting to women, not just very flamboyant men.
        Basking in the “shallow limeligt” he may be, but he’s still a professional figure skater and considering the massive opportunity he has to wear glittery outfits and strut his stuff all in the name of fun, art, and athletics, why not?
        If he were to start dressing down and “grow up”, then we’d just be back to the same old seriousness and intensity of professional sports with just a pinch of sequence and confetti here and there. (You can only avoid it for so long. It’s figure skating afterall.)
        There are plenty of younger-acting adults both in Hollywood and in the
        real world and with the exception of a few who clearly do make fools of themselves, I’d say growing up or at least acting like one is overrated.

  • yummycupcake

    He thinks my 4 yo is adorable at the ice rink so I love that guy!

    • Shannon

      That’s so cute!

  • Stef

    Haha! “The gayest sport in the universe.” Can’t wait to pick up this memoir, I love Johnny to death. He’s so honest and hilarious. Is there any chance for another season of Be Good Johnny Weir?

    • Karen

      The show is moving to Logo, they are re-airing Season One starting on Jan 25, and Season Two will start sometime this summer.

      • Shannon

        Oh, cool! I wasn’t aware. Going to keep an eye out for that.
        Thanks for the update, Karen.
        I guess that means we won’t be getting anymore shots of Weir’s rear without a snazzy distortion.
        It’s ok, really. We’ve had plenty of those.

  • efrain

    What a surprise not. Up next, ryan seacrest.

  • Karen

    Nice article – see, it is possible to report on this with a minimum of snark! (Can’t say the same about the comments, but that’s par for the course.) I’ve loved and admired Johnny ever since I saw video of that press conference in Vancouver – he’s an amazing person, and an inspiration for anyone searching for the courage to just be themselves.

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