Olympian Johnny Weir reveals he was told ‘you can’t be gay’ in figure skating aged 16 – in front of his mother

Patrick Kelleher
·3-min read

Dancing with the Stars’ Johnny Weir was once told by an agent that he couldn’t be gay if he wanted his figure skating career to take off.

Speaking on Monday night’s (October 26) episode of Dancing with the Star, Weir, 36, reflected on when he was approached by an agent at the age of 16.

Shockingly, Weir was told he would have to play straight in order to succeed as a figure skater.

“I had just turned 16 and I was competing internationally at the Olympic level,” Weir said.

“An agent approached me with my mom and said the world is your oyster and we’re the agency that can take you where you want to be.

“But he then looked at me and my mom and he said if you work with us and we create this future for you, you can’t be gay.”

At the time, Weir hadn’t come out.

“At 16 standing with your mother that isn’t necessarily a topic that you want to address,” he continued.

“My sexuality was not something that I’d really voiced because you’re afraid of how something that is just inside you will affect other people and you can’t fix that. You can’t change that.”

Weir said the shocking moment left him “mortified”.

“I remember going up to our room and my mom just said: ‘We don’t need them. You’re going to skate really well. You’re gonna book the jobs by yourself.'”

He added: “I used all of that negativity to my advantage and became a national champion.”

Dancing with the Stars figure skater Johnny Weir came out publicly as gay in 2011.

Johnny Weir came out publicly as gay in 2011 following years of speculation in the media about his sexuality.

The figure skater faced intense scrutiny about his sexual orientation during both the 2005 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

After coming out, he said he was surprised by the reaction, noting: “I’ve never lived in a closet. I’ve never claimed to be anything – I’ve never claimed to be straight or gay. I claim to be Johnny Weir.”

I never ‘came out’ in sport because I didn’t imagine it as a great secret.

In a series of tweets in 2018, Weir addressed his reluctance to come out publicly as gay while still competing.

He said that he was not “out” as gay “in the traditional sense”, but added: “I wear my sexuality the same as I wear my sex or my skin colour. It is something that simply is and something I was born into.

“I never ‘came out’ in sport because I didn’t imagine it as a great secret and it had nothing to do with my skating or my dreams.

“I was extremely lucky to grow up in a family/community of acceptance and perhaps that’s why I don’t see my sexuality as something that needs addressing.

“I am forever indebted, however, to the warriors who came before me that allow me to lead the life I do so openly.”