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article imageUS figure-skating champion Johnny Weir comes out as gay

By Mathew Wace Peck     Jan 7, 2011 in Sports
Johnny Weir – the American three-time national figure-skating champion – has come out as gay in his forthcoming autobiography, citing the recent string of gay youth suicides as one reason for his decision.
Previously, Weir has refused to clarify his sexual orientation, pointing out that who he chooses to sleep with has no baring on his sport. "There are some things I keep sacred. My middle name. Who I sleep with. And what kind of hand moisturiser I use," he once said.
However, in Welcome To My World, he writes, "I’m not ashamed to be me. More than anyone else I know, I love my life and accept myself. What’s wrong with being unique? I am proud of everything that I am and will become."
Pink News reports that Weir says he was never in the closet and that his family have no problem with him being gay. The 26-year-old's decision to now make his sexuality public was in the hope that it would help those with less supportive families. He said: "With people killing themselves and being scared into the closet, I hope that even just one person can gain strength from my story."
Weir also writes in his book that he knew at a young age he was gay and that he'd always known he was different. He says when he was six years old he watched Pretty Woman and was attracted to Richard Gere, and that, "By puberty, I knew that I was gay. But I didn't worry about it much. As a serious skater, I was way too busy."
As a self-proclaimed Russophile, Weir admires the skating style and culture of Russia and taught himself to speak and read the language. In 2010, at the suggestion of his Russian fans, a main-belt asteroid – discovered by T. V. Kryachko in 1995 – was officially named after him.
Welcome To My World is described by the publishers as: “In a memoir as candid and unconventional as Johnny Weir himself [. . .] who electrified the 2010 Winter Olympics shares his glamour, gritty, heartbreaking, hopeful, and just plain fabulous life story.” It is published in the US on 11 January.
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