Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Johnny Weir and Being More Than A Label

Johnny Weir has publicly announced he's gay. While I don't think that is much of a surprise for most people, I really liked the comments he had to say after he saw how the press reacted to his news.

From Pink News:
The American star told NBC’s Today show: ”I’m very surprised by the reaction. I’m a person – I’ve never lived in a closet. I’ve never claimed to be anything – I’ve never claimed to be straight or gay. I claim to be Johnny Weir.”

He announced he was gay earlier this month, having refused to clarify his sexual orientation in the past.

Continuing, he said: “And I think that’s something that’s very important for anybody in this world, is to own who you are, regardless of what you’re born into.

”I was born a white male. A white gay male, and I don’t celebrate being white or male. So, why should I celebrate being gay. That’s my opinion on the whole thing.

When asked if he would consider becoming a gay rights activist, he said: “I know people have been after this for years, and have worked so hard and tirelessly…. They definitely wanted me to be an activist.

“But the best way I can be an activist is to live my life, and not make that the main thing that is Johnny Weir. I’m much more than just a gay man.”
I think this is the same reason why so many women feel the need to call themselves a "feminist" even though they have issues with some of the actions and behaviors inside the feminist group. It's the same reason I won't laugh at rape jokes. Sometimes just living our lives without apology is the greatest message we can send.

So kudos for Johnny. While I don't think celebrating being gay is the same as celebrating being white, I get what Weir is trying to say. He's saying that he isn't defined by the labels society has seen fit to give him. And while that does speak of the privilege he does have, I can respect that kind of thinking.

3 comments:

  1. The idea of "coming out" has never sat well with me. Straight people don't do it, so why should gays? Weir is absolutely dead on about his approach to acceptance. Embracing individuality and labeling yourself as part of a community are two different things. Why can't the human race be only one community? Why do people have to come out as "gay" instead of gays coming out as people? Why can't we focus on the "who" instead of the "what"?

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  2. I agree, though I realize it's completely idealistic.

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  3. Not if there are more people like Johnny Weir, it isn't.
    Which I guess is just confirming your point.

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