Skater Brian Boitano Comes Out, Confuses People

Expanding the LGBTQ Conversation
Dec. 19 2013 4:41 PM

Skater Brian Boitano Comes Out, Confuses People

Brian Boitano (center) wins the gold medal at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada. Canadian Brian Orser (left) took silver, and Ukrainian Viktor Petrenko (right) won bronze.

Photo by Daniel Janin/AFP/Getty Images

Brian Boitano is now openly gay! Judging from my email inbox and Twitter feed, many people were shocked by his announcement this morning. Not because they thought for a moment that he might be heterosexual, but because they weren’t aware that until now he’d declined to answer questions about his sexuality. The last time so many people said, “I had no idea he was in” was back in 2010 when Ricky Martin declared himself “a fortunate homosexual man.”

Boitano explained that he’d stayed silent on the issue for so long—he’s now 50—because “being gay is just one part of who I am.” That’s true for all of us, of course, and since everyone in the entire world apparently thought he was gay, I’m not sure that all those “no comments” and refusals to talk to the gay press while promoting his Food Network show had the effect he hoped for. Still, better late than never.


As Outsports pointed out, this means that 30 percent of the U.S. delegation to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics is openly gay. Three-time Olympian and 1988 figure-skating gold medalist Boitano and tennis great (and longtime political activist) Billie Jean King will attend the Opening Ceremony, and two-time Olympic ice-hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow will be at the closing bash. As Joshua Keating noted in Slate, while our delegation may be long on out athletes, no Obamas, Bidens, Clintons, Bushes, or any other internationally recognized American political figures for that matter, will be making an appearance in the land of the “homosexual propaganda” law.

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.