While Outsports readers clearly know that Cyd and I flat-out say that Johnny Weir is gay, the skater has still never said those words. “There are some things I keep sacred,” Weir has said many times. “My middle name. Who I sleep with. And what kind of hand moisturizer I use.”
It's a funny line and Weir is entitled to reveal whatever he wants in whatever fashion he wants (he certainly loves the attention). But to the mainstream media, they still can't call Weir gay because they require him to utter those words. Deadspin has a running feature in which they "document - and evaluate - the sports media's pained efforts to call the sexually undeclared figure skater gay without quite calling him gay." It's an inspired bit that makes its point with humor.
I wonder whether Weir's coyness, though, gives license for people to mock him with homophobic slurs.
Here is what I mean: If Weir said publicly, "I am gay," then any media person who called him a "queen" or mocked his costumes or manner would get immediate attention from GLAAD and other gay rights groups; he'd be officially one of us. People would be calling for public apologies and demanding action. (GLAAD is starting to notice the general homophobia around men's skating). And I bet a lot of these same media people would think twice about mocking a publicly gay man, fearing accusations of homophobia.
But since Weir is not "publicly gay," everything he does or says is fair game, since he might be an effeminate straight guy (and no one ever cries "heterophobia"). If Weir came out using the mainstream media's standard, he would no longer give people the cover of saying they're just speculating as a means to mock and deride him. They would be held more accountable by a wider range of people.
A lot of you have had some very smart things to say on all things Weir, so would appreciate your insights.