Skater Brian Boitano Comes Out, Confuses People

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

Skater Brian Boitano Comes Out, Confuses People

142576153
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.

Advertisement

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. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Uh-Oh. The World’s Oceans Have Broken Their All-Time Heat Record.

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

How to Keep Apple From Sharing Your iPhone Data With the Police

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

A Simple Way to Keep Apple From Sharing Your iPhone Data With the Police

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
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.