This is how I fell in love in two and a half minutes. In a system where the men’s figure skating world was (and still is) becoming ever more chest beating, quad jumping, and hypermasculine, Johnny Weir brought back a measure of artistry that I feel had been lost on the men’s side. The first time I saw him perform this routine, I thought he skated like a girl and meant that as the highest form of compliment.
For all the drama that surrounds him, all the feuds, the over the top personality, you have to give him credit. He gave a giant Fuck You to a system that tried time and time again to push him out; instead he took national championships and became a two time Olympian. He gave a giant Fuck You to the USFSA who made no bones about not liking him, and forced them to swallow back their own hypocritical internalized homophobia because he refused to change who he was to fit their idea of what a modern, “sell-able” male figure skater should be. He has changed and continues to change the entire field, where gay skaters were marginalized or forced to stay in the closet until after their careers were over, so that future gay skaters perhaps won’t have to deal with the vitriolic treatment he has faced from commentators, analysts, and the USFSA itself. So while you may cringe at his over the top performances to Lady Gaga in a corset and pink feather boa, you have to respect that he’s changed the sport. Giving the USFSA a shove into the 21st century can only be a good thing. Because it’s pretty fucking sad that Hockey has embraced the ethos of “if you can skate, you can skate. If you can play, you can play” before FIGURE SKATING.