Monday, September 5, 2011


Okay, tangent. After the discussion directly underneath the post below, I went looking to see how gay and/or flamboyant Brian Boitano dressed in his prime and here's him on the podium at the 1988 Olympics: 
He jumps right out at you as the gay one.
It looks like they got together on the phone before the lp and coordinated their outfits - but what's gayer - red or blue? It's a judgment call - Viktor Petrenko could be sneaking up on the Brians and running away with the title. The flamboyance! Why couldn't these guys have been understated like everyone else in 1988!

Sergei Grinkov:
Sergei may have sprigs of cherry 
blossoms running up the side of his robin's egg blue
costume. And what's at his waist? Is that .. pink?
 Katerina Witt:

Bestemianova and Bukin:
Lovely program.

Dear God those costumes are gay and loud. No wonder nobody watched figure skating back then.

(It's curious that the Besti squat named after Natalia's move is done now mostly by ice dance men. Do they know this in Canada? How it's a Russian girl squat?)

Here's Brian Boitano in other costumes:
Oh how gay.

If the wife-beater were white-gold shredded spandex with sparkles, or red shredded spandex with gold thread like the guys wear in CSOI, or if the darn thing would only be torn into rags after he did his back-flip, it wouldn't seem so gay.
 Here's Brian Orser who shows you how NOT to do what Brian Boitano would do:

Blue, collared button-down and dark skate-trousers. 180 from that gay, black sweater vest, gray, collared button-down and dark skate-trousers the other Brian is wearing above him.

God Brian, you make me sick! Why can't you dress like Brian?

This is a little marginal for me. It's a show program, I get that. But Orser 
needs to pick one color, shrink it to 1/8th this size, slash the fabric so 
the details of his chesticles peek out, tighten up the pants, do some 
pointing and get spray tan. Then he won't be as gay.
I really love Brian Orser and this is not really about him, but about Skate Canada. Shortly after Brian Orser won his Worlds 1988 gold medal (3 perfect 6.0's), In 1998, and as referenced by the comment under the post beneath this, Orser was the subject of a palimony suit which ended up outing him - apparently the first figure skater thus outed. [the original timeline, which I googled after a commentator on another post confirmed to me that Orser was indeed out and how it came about, is from an article I googled that incorrectly stated the sequence of events. The second comment below this post I will assume has the correct sequence.]

Yet fourteen 3-4 years later Skate Canada's Alma Moir singled out America's Brian Boitano - not Canadian, no palimony suit and not nearly as many flowy, billowy shirts as people recall (kind of disappointing) - as perpetuating figure skating's gay image, an image thankfully straightened out by Kurt Browning. You'd think the guy with the palimony suit in Canada, the Canadian figure skater and famous co-star of the epic "Battle of the Brians" held in Canada, would be considered to have furthered that gay image of Canadian figure skating more. But I never took the seminar on how to tell which of two hugely talented, intelligent, personable, masculine, good-looking, tastefully costumed male figure skaters is spewing gay all over the sport's image.

But I know one thing:

It's not him.


Perhaps Mrs. Moir cited Boitano over Orser because Boitano won the Olympics and Orser did not. That would also explain why she praised Browning as the man who came along and de-gayed things, because he won

zero Olympic medals, of any color.

Next is Johnny Weir, whose niche-appeal costumes include this black number with the outline of a corset indicated in pink fabric on the shirt. It's not a real corset, it's a motif, but damn it's outlined in pink AND men don't wear corsets (except Alec Baldwin under all his suits on 30 Rock).

Another reason you want to get rid of gay image people like Johnny Weir is you never EVER want figure skating to be entertaining.

Now we come to Scott Hamilton's favorite American antidote to the shame that is Johnny Weir:
That's  more like it.

When I read the comments people inside the sport have about this stuff, I think despite all the hinting around the message could be this:

Don’t be gay. Be straight. If you’re straight or claim to be straight, do what you want. Wear anything you want – if it comes off a little gay just mug a whole lot to prove you’re tongue-in-cheek which always = straight.

If you are routinely on the podium and you keep your sexual orientation reasonably undercover, wear what you want, skate to what you want, spray as much tan on yourself as you want and if your sleeves billow or you’ve got some peek-a-boo mesh going on, but you’re mostly passing as straight, really we don’t care.

If you’re gay, but Canadian, we’ll overlook it. We love you guys too much to notice. We love you in spite of it, we do, and we always will love you in spite of it. We’ll never mention it, promise. We’ll help you out by pointing out foreign gay guys. Just YOU don’t mention it, but even if you do, we’ll probably pretend we don't hear and snicker at Johnny Weir some more.

If you are undecided about being known as straight or gay, or if you don’t want to fool around and want to assert yourself unambiguously on the straight side, wear this on the ice:

Official Straight Man's Costume of the ISU


  1. Brian Boitano has never been flamboyant or flashy. Even if he had been, I love him. Besides having had a spectacular skating career, he's done wonders in the US for figure skating awareness and popularity.

    I've always admired both Brians (Boitano and Orser), who IMO are two of the best skaters of their generation,and they've both been wonderful ambassadors for their sport. They are two of my favorite skaters.

    I don't get Alma's statement at all.

  2. "Shortly after Brian Orser won his Worlds 1988 gold medal (3 perfect 6.0's), and as referenced by the comment under the post beneath this, he was the subject of a palimony suit which ended up outing him..."

    Not entirely relevant to your argument, but time to get some facts straight:

    1) Orser didn't win Worlds in 1988; Boitano did. Orser won Worlds in 1987.

    2) Orser was not outed by the palimony suit until ten full years after the Calgary Olympics, in 1998.

    Fact-checking before posting is always a good thing.

  3. You are correct. I got the information from an article that had the dates wrong and connected the palimony lawsuit to directly after his win at Worlds. I will amend the post and cite your corrections.

  4. But the correct chronology actually makes Alma Moir's remarks more egregious. Three, not 13-14 years after Brian Boitano's exact contemporary - a great and popular Canadian Olympic medalist, World Champion and Canadian champion - is the subject of a public PALIMONY suit, Moir cites American Brian Boitano as the dude making figure skating all gay, and Canadian Kurt Browning as the guy riding to its image rescue.

    The post isn't about billowy sleeves any more than I believe Kurt Browning or the interviewer's snickering over Weir's design ambitions had ANYTHING to do with a genuine assessment of the potential market for his designs.

    There's politics in figure skating but it's pretty sickening to openly play "us and them" about who is gay-er (Americans are more gay!), and it's pretty sick to play "us and them" with fans in the specific way these people feel entitled to play it when there are other strategies available that aren't an affront to common decency towards the people you're trying to get $$$ from.

    And while Browning's a great figure skater, and he is a likeable guy, I think Orser and Boitano have conducted themselves with greater public maturity, and I think maturity is a nice quality in a 'figure skating ambassador'. But being "gay" makes those qualities a waste of time, and being 'straight' makes you a better role model even if you never made the Olympic podium, appear to be ADHD, and at age 44 burn your home down with a leaf blower because you didn't want to take your Porsche to the Porsche-drying center. Although in fairness to Mrs. Moir that didn't happen until almost a decade after she made her remarks.

    I would like to think the "us and them" mindset that permeates everything from skaters/fans to Canadian/other to gay/straight has improved since the original remarks were published but the tough campaign, the hiring of Barb MacDonald, and the cooperation between the honchos at Skate Canada and the Moirs with pulling a hoax off on the public suggests not much growing and learning has occurred.

  5. Let me add something else about Ms. MacDonald. What she believes in is converting gay people to straight people. Per her beliefs, a gay person can be converted via prayer, with the help of God and Jesus. And this is the person William Thompson hired to be his Director of Corporate Communications AFTER the semi-backfiring of the Tough Campaign and after the Olympics in 2010. An Evangelical isn't simply somebody with a set of convictions who abides by those convictions - they are somebody who seeks to convert, pro-actively, get others to share their beliefs. Again, this is Skate Canada's Director of Corporate Comunications - a woman who by her own definition does not live any separation between her personal religious beliefs and her professional responsibilities;in fact more often than not the latter was directly connected to the former. But now - after tough campaign, after the various perhaps unwitting remarks about gays, she is NOT eager to convert gays in Skate Canada and she's an appropriate person to be Director of Corporate Commnications? Or maybe she's simply yet another part of the Tough Campaign. Look, we at Skate Canada have Barb MacDonald as our director of communications. So how gay can we be? Clearly, we are the opposite of gay!

    You'd think Canada was some country that stoned gays or yearned, as a culture, to be that type of country. Yet when I've asked friends who've spent time there if that's the case, a pretty open, tolerant society is described, where the attitudes break down similarly to the U.S. - more tolerance in large cities, more suspicion in the homogenous middle sized parts.

  6. P.S. - in fairness to all Evangelicals, I have to amend the above post to say "Barb's brand of Evangelical." Otherwise it's using Barb and One Way Ministries and her prior professional endeavors to cast a shadow over Evangelical communities that would not only never dream of doing what Barb has done, but communities for whom what Barb does is actually against what they believe in and work towards when they practice their faith. What Barb does is her (and her own community's) take and reflects her leanings. It does not define what it means to be an Evangelical - it is what BARB believes it means to be Evangelical. Needless to say, many Evangelicals strongly disagree with her, and show as much in how they live their lives, practice their faith, and engage with the world.

  7. Think the intention behind your amendment is great, but I personally don't know an Evangelical who is OK with gay people being gay. Christians yes, but Evangelicals no. But that's a side issue. Just wanted to say I find your commentary about the tough campaign etc very thoughtful, I never really saw it as a big deal, but it is.

  8. "Think the intention behind your amendment is great, but I personally don't know an Evangelical who is OK with gay people being gay. Christians yes, but Evangelicals no."

    I know you're only speaking for yourself and your experiences, but I can assure you that not all Evangelicals are the same. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, for instance, ordains openly gay and lesbian ministers, and many of its members are openly supportive of same-sex marriage and other gay rights causes.

  9. I'm the one quoted above. I'm very glad to hear that. I only said what I said because I know a LOT of evangelicals and of quite a diverse range of beliefs (relatively speaking). I know them well enough to know the content of their beliefs (I'm talking family and close[-at-least-at-one-point] friends). The only ones I know who are OK with homosexuality no longer call themselves evangelicals. I wish my experience was different. But I do appreciate your comment :)

  10. All this talk about a very few, non anti-gay Evangelicals is nice and may actually exist on the fringe somewhere, BUT this is not the case with Barb Macdonald. Barb was (still is unofficially working with them) in charge of communications for One Way Ministries. That means she is the spin doctor for them. One Way Ministries is part of a larger group of 5 Evangelical political organizations, including Ellel Ministries who currently promote homosexuality as a disease and offer courses to cure those "struggling with homosexuality". You can find this info linked from the One Way Ministries site under Partners. That means Barb Macdonald is most definitely one of the anti-gay ones. She sold this bigotry, in a professional capacity, to the world. Skate Canada is guilty.