Johnny Weir Responds to Gender-Conformity Police

After scorching the ice in the greatest outfit in the history of the Olympics (an outfit of his own design, no less), American figure skater Johnny Weir was ridiculed and criticized for being "feminine" and a "bad example" to boys. Entertainment Weekly's Pop Watch covers the story:
According to The Canadian Press, Claude Mailhot of the French-language RDS network began by saying, “This may not be politically correct, but do you think he lost points due to his costume and his body language?” Alain Goldberg responded saying Weir’s femininity may reflect poorly on other male figure skaters.”They’ll think all the boys who skate will end up like him. It sets a bad example.” Goldberg is also quoted as saying, “We should make him [Weir] pass a gender test at this point,” and Mailhot then joking that Weir should compete in the women’s competition. The two broadcasters later issued an on-air apology.
Mr. Weir responded with strength and grace:
“I would challenge anyone to question my upbringing and question my parents’ ideals and feelings about bringing up me and my brother, who’s completely different from me but taught very much the same way that I was,” [...] “Even my gender has been questioned. I want that to be public because I don’t want 50 years from now more young boys and girls to have to go through this sort of thing and to have their whole life basically questioned for no reason other than to make a joke and to make people watch their television program"[.]

Weir had more to say in this video from the Associated Press, also embedded in the EW post:

"I think, as a person you know what your values are and what you believe in and I think that’s the most important thing."

Transcript below the fold.

The comments at the Entertainment Weekly Pop Watch post are not as bad as most blog comments (faint praise, naturally). Although the thread was immediately derailed by a troll who thinks it's OK to attack Weir on gender grounds because he "asked for trouble" by wearing fur (he's switched to faux, by the way), most commenters disagreed. A man named Jefferson, who seems to be Butch Pornstache's more enlightened brother, even showed up to own his shit:
Johnny Weir should be every bit as flaming or macho or anything in between as he wants.
I’m a straight man who likes football and big trucks and naked chicks. Does Johnny’s demeanor make me uncomfortable? Yes. But I understand 100% that that is my own problem, and my own issue to overcome. Johnny Weir (or anyone else) should not change for me, or for anyone. He should only ever be true to himself (as should we all). Anyone who can’t deal with that is the one who needs to change, by opening their mind and heart.
And in answer to the commenter who calls Johnny a "flame" for wearing a crown of red roses after competition, "me" writes,
By the way, the crown of roses he sported is an inside joke from his russian trainers since in eastern european countries at the end of the school year the student with the highest marks from each class gets “first price with a crown”. I’ve been crowned 4 times in my life (before highschool when cutting class became more appealing) and never saw ppl be embarassed by having their picture taken with a crown of roses, daisies or any other flower they liked. I teared up a bit actually bc the crown means to his team and trainers that he is a winner despite not getting a medal.
Yes, Johnny, you are definitely a winner.

The H/T goes to Pixelfish in today's Open Thread.

I’m not somebody to cry over something or to feel weak about something, I felt very defiant when I saw these comments. I felt that it wasn’t these two men criticizing my skating, it wasn’t them criticizing my anything-- it was them criticizing me as a person. And that was something that really frankly pissed me off. So more than anything I felt like I had to make a comment and a statement saying that I hope more kids can grow up the same way that I did, and that more kids can feel the freedom that I feel, the freedom to be themselves and to express themselves, that’s the most important thing. That’s the message I want to come out of all of this. Because out of ugly—I think the most important thing to do in life is to make something beautiful.

I—I can’t say anything mean, I mean I’m totally for freedom of speech and voicing your own opinions, so I can’t, I can’t, like, have them fired, because they voiced their opinion, and just the fact that they’re on television, I mean, I’ve heard worse in bathrooms and whatnot about me, so [laughs]. So it’s not a big issue for me that they said it, it’s just that I didn’t want other kids to have the same issue, and other people in the public eye to have the same issue. If I had a chance to sit down with them over a putzin ( ETA: poutine?), I think, uh, I think we’d all be, like, lovely people together, I think they’d see who I really am, because, being an athlete and being a figure skater, I rarely have the opportunity to voice my opinion without it being misquoted. I am always thought of as the sparkly, flamboyant character that wore a crown of roses, I mean, that’s what people see of me and they come up with a notion of what I must be like. And uh, aside from my circle of very close friends and people, nobody knows me—nobody knows what makes me tick, nobody knows what’s inside here and here [points to head and heart].

Uh, I think masculinity is what you believe it to be. To me, masculinity is all my perception. And I think that masculinity and femininity is something that’s very old-fashioned. There’s a whole new generation of people that aren’t defined by their sex or their race or by who they like to sleep with. I think, as a person you know what your values are and what you believe in and I think that’s the most important thing.

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