Figure Skating and Homosexuality

  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Feb 04, 2014 7:02 AM GMT
    The winter Olympics are nearly upon us, and I just read a fascinating article called The Frozen Closet in Newsweek about figure skating's "dirty little secret," that the sport that most people, gay and straight, perceive as the gayest sport, is actually one of the most homophobic sports of all.

    When Brian Boitano came out publicly this year, no one was surprised. When Johnny Weir came out after the Vancouver games, NO ONE was surprised. According to this article, some people estimate that 50% of elite male figure skaters are gay, but none of them will come out publicly for fear for retribution by the sport's governing bodies. As one interviewee put it, "there is...no room for effeminacy," and being gay is still automatically associated with being feminine (which we all know isn't true).

    The article also goes into the history of figure skating and how it evolved from a male-dominated sport to a female-dominated one at the beginning of the 20th century.

    What's wrong with this picture? Are there any current or former figure skaters on RJ who have any insight? Is there any way for figure skating to regain its popular image? If you're watching the Olympics this year, will you tune in for figure skating?
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    Feb 04, 2014 3:17 PM GMT
    I've always enjoyed watching the figure skating, male and female. It's a combination of athleticism and creativity. I'd heard since I was a kid that most of the males are gay. The figure could even be higher than 50%. I used to like Elvis Stojko. He'd incorporate karate moves into his routine and wasn't feminine in the least. I also liked Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, and some others, can't think of their names, some were feminine and others weren't. I was talking with a group of people about the olympics and when the topic turned to figure skating just about all of them said they preferred watching the males as opposed to to the females. I don't know how they could say there's "no room for effeminacy" when it's always been there and nobody seems to care. It's one of the most popular sports of the winter olympic sports.
  • MarylandDave

    Posts: 18

    Feb 04, 2014 3:37 PM GMT
    Thirty years ago, my first "real Job" was at a brand new ice skating rink that was opening at a new shopping mall in Maryland. At the time I was trying to live a "straight" life. (It was the early 80's, way before gay was mainstream) There were a couple instructors that we all knew were gay, but they were not "out" to customers or coworkers. There were some younger figure skaters, that even with my unrefined "gaydar" at the time, I knew they would be waving the rainbow flag in the future. At the same time, there were some young skaters who were as straight at Sylvester Stallone. I didn't notice any of the straight guys shunning the gay guys. They were all just a bunch of skaters, working hard at being better skaters. Ice skater, male and female work as hard as any athlete, practicing every day, for many years, with more dedication than most people can imagine.

    One of the first little kids I sold skates to ended up being a three time National Men's Champion and even competed in the 1998 and 2002 Olympics, placing 3rd and 7th. He's one of the straight skaters - married with children.
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4435

    Feb 04, 2014 3:42 PM GMT
    I don't care for any sport that requires music-- figure skating, women's floor gymnastics, those silly wand things with streamers, whatever that is, synchronized swimming, etc. I appreciate that it takes great athletic talent to do some of this stuff but I just see it as cutsy and not sport. There are a lot of things that require athletic skill that don't qualify as sport in my mind.
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    Feb 04, 2014 5:49 PM GMT
    Figure skating is a very expensive sport.
    Typically, only kids from wealthy families can afford to become a competitive figure skater because of all the costs related to training, practice time, travel, etc.
    As a result, for a long time, many of the kids who have gone into the sport have come from wealthy religious right-wing families - and that's had a huge impact on the culture of the sport.
    Even though a lot of gay kids go into the sport - the culture of the sport and those controlling the sport put lot of pressure put on gay skaters to stay in the closet and to not appear too feminine.

    I dated someone who'd been a competitive figure skater and he had some horrific stories to tell about the twisted gay-hating kind of stuff that gay skaters have to deal with.

    We should hate the bastards controlling the sport but have sympathy for the gay skaters who have to put up with it in order to compete in the sport they love.
  • JBinSFO

    Posts: 90

    Feb 04, 2014 6:02 PM GMT
    RickRick91 saidFigure skating is a very expensive sport.
    Typically, only kids from wealthy families can afford to become a competitive figure skater because of all the costs related to training, practice time, travel, etc.
    As a result, for a long time, many of the kids who have gone into the sport have come from wealthy religious right-wing families - and that's had a huge impact on the culture of the sport.
    .


    OK so I get that it might be the wealthier kids, but what's the connection to religious right wing families?
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4435

    Feb 04, 2014 6:02 PM GMT
    RickRick91 saidFigure skating is a very expensive sport.
    Typically, only kids from wealthy families can afford to become a competitive figure skater because of all the costs related to training, practice time, travel, etc.
    As a result, for a long time, many of the kids who have gone into the sport have come from wealthy religious right-wing families - and that's had a huge impact on the culture of the sport.
    Even though a lot of gay kids go into the sport - the culture of the sport and those controlling the sport put lot of pressure put on gay skaters to stay in the closet and to not appear too feminine.

    I dated someone who'd been a competitive figure skater and he had some horrific stories to tell about the twisted gay-hating kind of stuff that gay skaters have to deal with.

    We should hate the bastards controlling the sport but have sympathy for the gay skaters who have to put up with it in order to compete in the sport they love.

    Ya, looks and sounds about like beauty competition nazi women. Crazy. Make dog show women look sane. Although girls' gymnastics is about the same. That isn't what a sport is about.
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    Feb 04, 2014 7:54 PM GMT
    JBinSFO said
    RickRick91 saidFigure skating is a very expensive sport.
    Typically, only kids from wealthy families can afford to become a competitive figure skater because of all the costs related to training, practice time, travel, etc.
    As a result, for a long time, many of the kids who have gone into the sport have come from wealthy religious right-wing families - and that's had a huge impact on the culture of the sport.
    .


    OK so I get that it might be the wealthier kids, but what's the connection to religious right wing families?




    I don't know why it is that some of the gay-hating bible thumpers like figure skating so much - I only know that they do - and that they exert a strong influence over the sport because of the money they put into it.

    The biggest figure skating training locale in the US is the extremely Republican - Colorado Springs.
    Colorado Springs is also home to the extreme anti-gay religious right organization "Focus on the Family".
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    Feb 04, 2014 8:27 PM GMT
    RickRick91 said
    JBinSFO said
    RickRick91 saidFigure skating is a very expensive sport.
    Typically, only kids from wealthy families can afford to become a competitive figure skater because of all the costs related to training, practice time, travel, etc.
    As a result, for a long time, many of the kids who have gone into the sport have come from wealthy religious right-wing families - and that's had a huge impact on the culture of the sport.
    .


    OK so I get that it might be the wealthier kids, but what's the connection to religious right wing families?




    I don't know why it is that some of the gay-hating bible thumpers like figure skating so much - I only know that they do - and that they exert a strong influence over the sport because of the money they put into it.

    The biggest figure skating training locale in the US is the extremely Republican - Colorado Springs.
    Colorado Springs is also home to the extreme anti-gay religious right organization "Focus on the Family".


    There must be people in the figure skating world who are atheists, Democrats and wealthy. You seem to place all people in certain categories and can't accept that everyone's not like you. Some figure skaters come from very poor backgrounds, like living in trailer parks, but they find people to sponsor them. I don't know that much about the sport other than some interviews I've seen and a few articles I've read, and many seem to come from humble backgrounds. I just read this about Nancy Kerrigan, "The Kerrigan family was of modest means. Kerrigan's father, a welder, sometimes worked three jobs to fund her skating career; he also drove the ice resurfacer at the local rink in exchange for Nancy's lessons."
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    Feb 04, 2014 8:47 PM GMT
    Destinharbor saidI don't care for any sport that requires music-- figure skating, women's floor gymnastics, those silly wand things with streamers, whatever that is, synchronized swimming, etc. I appreciate that it takes great athletic talent to do some of this stuff but I just see it as cutsy and not sport. There are a lot of things that require athletic skill that don't qualify as sport in my mind.

    Same here. I also look down on sports that require judges evaluating the performance of the athletes; gymnastics, diving, etc. Sure, the guys are hot and all that but basically they're being judged for their performance.

    But then what I just said is bs because all sports are basically a performance for our entertainment. Whatever.
  • stratavos

    Posts: 1831

    Feb 05, 2014 12:49 AM GMT
    being a Figureskater in my youth (as if I'm not considered a youth for not being done college yet) my main issue was with society's critique of me, without knowing me. I had other issues as well like not being able to pick my own music for my routine (that's what coaches do.


  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Feb 05, 2014 12:52 AM GMT
    stratavos saidMy main issue was with society's critique of me, without knowing me.


    Do you mean that society assumes that you're gay if you're a figure skater, or something else?

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    Feb 05, 2014 12:53 AM GMT
    Bunjamon said
    stratavos saidMy main issue was with society's critique of me, without knowing me.


    Do you mean that society assumes that you're gay if you're a figure skater, or something else?


    The assumption is of femininity and/or homosexuality, and sadly it is typical to assume both
  • stratavos

    Posts: 1831

    Feb 05, 2014 1:12 AM GMT
    juvenescences has it partly right. If I stated that I was a figure skater to any male they'd laugh first or there'd be a dramatic pause. The laughing ones would immediately make comments about masculinity and try to brush it off as a joke.

    (for context, I stopped in my later teens because I not only didn't want to be competitive with it, but wasn't doing it for me anymore (and also wasn't "high up" in the promising athletes lists of "things that can be done"). I also had been growing my hair out multiple times to dye it and dress as different characters from anime series/videogames (not that I did it often, the cosplaying))



  • Sam_mas

    Posts: 33

    Aug 23, 2015 1:08 PM GMT
    Men figure skating does not always necessarily related to feminime. You should see skaters like Patrick Chan, Brian Joubert or Joshua farris' last program "give me love", all these skaters look stunningly masculine (hint, joshua farris tho).

    But then again, if you look at Adam Rippon or Johnny Weir, and old granpa in his late 80s can easily spot and assume the gayness in them, which is kind of (so) obvious.

    I guess its the same with any other sport, if they do not come out, people will just keep assuming on their behaviour.
    Only yea ofcourse, figure skating leaves the hint out a bit more than any other for real. Chan once said on this gay-bashing thing; "how can you be masculine when you try to interpret butterfly." lol.

    try watching this video, it will give you the hint that figure skate was not all about flamboyant and girlish gestures, their in-ice and off-ice trainings are cray cray, and it looks very hard-dedicated SPORT too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf1xOmEkz5c

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    Aug 24, 2015 8:41 AM GMT
    I will tune in to the Figure Skating, The Slalem, The Bob Sled, in fact any sport event where the guys have tight ski-pants on.