I've watched a lot more of Johnny Weir, and also had several drinks, and I have concluded: I need some better vocabulary for talking about this.

One of the terrible things I keep running into when writing about this stuff is that the word "gay" now has a sort of double meaning: We use it to mean both 'having a homosexual orientation' and 'behaving in a way, often in conflict with traditional gender representation, that is associated with communities of homosexual people', and it's only very recently that these have become not the same thing. It used to be that gay men were not terribly welcome in straight society, and reciprocally that straight men were not terribly welcome in gay society -- there was not a lot of chance for behaviors to cross-pollinate, as it were, and there was the added element of animosity that made it dangerous to be mistaken for someone on the other side of the line. You can still run into problems, depending to a positively stupid extent on geography, but on the whole, younger people kinda don't care. Mistaken assumptions are annoying largely on the basis that it means you're attracting attention from people you're not inclined to bang, and failing to attract attention from people you would.

Weir says unequivocally that being gay is something he was born with, and he doesn't celebrate it. This is true. He digs guys, it just is, and he doesn't talk about that much because there isn't much more you can say about it. He turned out kinda tall too, and he doesn't throw parties for that either. He's like that with a lot of things -- Weir is from a small town in Pennsylvania, and it's a part of his childhood, but he chose to become a New Yorker, and he babbles far more volubly about that.

Socially, he also behaves in a lot of ways that our culture has traditionally restricted to openly homosexual men. This is the kind of 'gay' that he's talking about with the stuff like the 'box of rainbows' comment. There are an infinite number of equally valid ways to be a homosexual man, and Weir's picked one that happens to mesh well with his flamboyant personality. He does celebrate this a lot, because it's a cultural affiliation he's chosen. The behavior itself is not necessarily what sets off gaydar. The last guy I met in person who got that cuddly with girls and had a similarly pavonine sense of fashion made a pass at me, and you'd have to be in a coma to mistake me for anything but an adult ciswoman. It's the sense of intentionality -- Weir means this to mean something.

Notably, he's thrown in with a particular subculture that's notorious for reveling in the complex interplay between gender and beauty, between personal gender identification and social gender performance, and between sexual and emotional attraction. It thrilled Weir nigh unto death when MAC asked him to do their 2011 holiday campaign. (He was also over the moon to find out that corset was borrowed from Lady Gaga, being as he is a screaming fan.) He has a great deal of fun interacting with people like Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho, because he flirts like hell with girls and the self-proclaimed 'fag hags' will take it at face value and not get confused about his intent.

The complaints of homophobia in figure skating are evidently mainly directed at the judges, which tallies pretty well with what I've been seeing while watching the skaters. I'm... well, I'm a lot of things, but one of them is a theater kid, and the body language I see when the figure skaters interact on camera is very much what I'm used to seeing in performing artists, and very different from what I see with other competitive athletes. I'm sure while they have their fair share of gossip and backstabbing and shagging and terrible breakups and all that, it's all on a personal level, if'n you follow -- on the whole they seem to be a legitimate community, who will largely close ranks if something threatens from outside. People Weir's age and under generally don't give a shit about queerness or lack thereof, full stop, but the figure skaters specifically appear to not give a shit about it all the way back at least to the stuff I've been watching from the '80s.

Apparently the judges -- many of whom are said to be closeted themselves, and who are all much much older than the skaters -- don't want figure skating to seem too 'gay', conflating the first and second senses of the word I mentioned above. This flummoxes me. Your sport is made entirely of slim, athletic young men in glittery spandex costumes performing graceful dances on ice, who have coalesced into an artistic community where it is perfectly acceptable to skate off the rink after your program directly into one of the other glittery-spandex-men so that you can hug each other before he goes out to start his graceful-ice-dancing performance. Not all of your skaters are going to be gay, in either sense, but traditionally little microcosms of the arts like this one are places where gay men have felt they had some amount of social acceptance even when in mixed company. People like Johnny Weir are going to happen, probably on a regular basis, and now that the outside world has kind of stopped caring, they are going to be very loud. Fortunately, all of you are getting old now, and will hopefully either retire or die while we're having this stupid fight in the media, and everybody will get to find something new to complain about.

Weir has spent like the last six months being bombarded by people wanting to talk about Olympics he's officially not competing in. He's finally gotten down to basically bitching at people to go make their own decisions about it and stop complaining at him for giving them his opinion when they asked for it in the first place. As it happens, I'm with him on this one: Feel free to not give Russia your tourist money if you don't like their laws, if you're a random celeb or politician who wants to make a statement by loudly and conspicuously not going then don't go, and leave the actual workings of the Olympics alone, because none of this has anything to do with the athletes or the IOC. There's an excellent chance he's going to get himself deported, assuming they give him a visa in the first place, but he's made it perfectly clear that he is willing to commit this act of civil disobedience. If NBC hasn't got some sort of backup plan for this, then it's not his fault.

You know what? Hell with all this. Just listen to him say it, and I'm going to try to keep myself out of sociological trouble.

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