Two-time Olympian Johnny Weir's new book will hit bookstores on Tuesday, and in it he says that he is gay. Previously, the figure skater has avoided questions on sexuality, but says now that he's coming out to support other members of the gay community who are afraid to come out.
"With people killing themselves and being scared into the closet, I hope that even just one person can gain strength from my story," Weir told People.
He said that he never felt that he was "in the closet," and he has often questioned the importance of labels.
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Weir has always marched to the beat of his own drum, whether he was wearing a costume with "man cleavage," judging a fashion reality show, giving make-up tips, or finding inspiration in Lady Gaga. At times, his actions have brought criticism, like when he wore fur on his costume to the U.S. Figure Skating National Championships. (After pressure from animal rights groups, he changed his costume for the Olympics.)
But even when he's been the subject of small-minded jokes, Weir has responded with grace. When Australian and Canadian commentators made jokes about Weir's lack of masculinity, he defended his detractors and their right to free speech.
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Considering how suicide among gay teens was in the news recently, it's no surprise that Weir included his "coming out" in his book. He's spoken publicly of the support his family has given him through the years, and now he can return the favor to closeted gays who weren't as lucky.
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- Johnny Weir