Johnny is world renowned for his talent on the ice. One of the superstars in the sport of figure skating, and an emerging pop-culture icon, fans all over the world love his elegant, edgy style and the delicious unpredictability of never knowing what he’ll say, wear or do next.
“I never think of myself as an activist in any capacity, but I am glad that people can find strength and inspiration in my triumphs and defeats,” said Johnny, who became more open following the recent epidemic of gay teen suicides hoping his story would help others. “I hope that I can continue to inspire individuality in people regardless of age, sex, race, sexual orientation, or religion,” he said upon receiving the Visibility Award from HRC Seattle.
This May, Johnny spoke out against the appointment of Peter Vidmar as chef de mission for the 2012 US Olympic Team. Vidmar was a vocal proponent for Prop 8, participat-ing in two anti-gay marriage rallies and contributing money to its devastating cam-paign. Speaking to the Chicago Tribune with other Olympic athletes, Johnny said, “I certainly wouldn’t want to be represented by someone who is anti gay marriage. It isn’t just about marriage, it is being allowed equal rights as Americans.” As a fall out from all the negative attention he received, Vidmar resigned just 8 days after being appointed.
Since wowing us as a three-time US champion, two-time Olympian and World medalist, Johnny has put his fame to good use—balancing performances in skating shows around the world with appearances at various benefits across the country. Among the numerous charities he supports are the Elton John AIDS Foundation, UNICEF and The Trevor Project. In April, he donated all ticket sales from one of his shows to the American Red Cross: Japan Disaster Relief Fund. And, he is the star of his own reality show—Be Good Johnny Weir—on the Sundance Channel. In 2010, Johnny won Logo’s NewNowNext Award for Most Addictive Reality Star.
Johnny is multi-faceted, and multi-talented. “We are all onions,” he said, in reference to the layers that all people have. “Own who you are. We are never just one thing; we all have numerous different people in us, all making us who we are. I make my own path in this world. I live my life with absolutely no regrets.”
CSW is thrilled to host Johnny as the 2011 LA PRIDE Parade Grand Marshal.
BY TOM CARPENTER
Writer Tom Carpenter is a former Marine Captain and current board member of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage define members of our Armed Services, traits we should all strive to posses. Many people have them, displaying part of, or all in their daily life, striving to live them. How many of us live these traits daily? As a whole, as part of our personal ethics?
Now add the factor of being honest about who you are, who you love and what you need to feel complete as a person, and not just a service member. That is the situation that currently faces the LGBT members of the United States Armed Services.
How can they serve their country, follow a dream of patriotism and service to their fellow man, and still tell the whole truth, being honest about something deeply personal, and share who it is they love?
LGBT people have come a long way in the US. We have begun to gain equal rights on a state by state basis. However, that has not been the case on the national level. With “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” still the law of the land, there is still more to do.
2010 saw the passage of the first stand alone bill impacting LGBT Americans in history. Even after President Obama signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 into law on December 22, 2010, hundreds and thousands of active duty, reserve, and National Guard service members are still waiting for the military and the Defense Department to certify that the Services are ready to implement repeal. When this happens and the statutorily mandated 60 day waiting period passes, DADT will be history and finally all patriotic Americans will be able to be honest, open and serve their country with honor and dignity.
On a cautionary note, while the President has signed the repeal of DADT, it will not go into effect until he receives certification from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense and 60 days passes after he certifies that the military is ready to implement this change in personnel policy. Opponents of repeal, including a number of leading Republican Presidential candidates and conservative, Teapublican members or the House Armed Service Committee have vowed to repeal, the repeal of the DADT law. We must be ever vigilant. This is not a done deal.
Although as a leader in so many ways, the Unites States is the last remaining superpower, and a leader of the free world, we are far behind many of our allies on this issue. There are 24 countires that have, for many years and even decades, allowed serivce members to be open about who they are, and still serve honorably.These nations, include some of our closest allies serving with us in Iraq and Afghanistan, the British, Canadians and Australians. Their transition to open and honest service has been discribed as a “non-event.” So it will be when the United States finally does away with this vestage of discrimination against its own patriots.
It is with deep respect for all that they have done, and will continue to do for our country and community, that Christopher Street West selects the many active duty, reserve and National Guard service members who still serve in silence, as well as those veterans who suffered under the earlier ban and DADT, as Community Grand Marshal of this year’s PRIDE Parade. Because those currently serving still cannot come out, you will see that in the military tradition of the riderless horse, the Grand Marshal vehicle will be empty.