It's difficult to deny the dynamism of Johnny Weir's ice skating. Since he entered the sport 14 years ago at what many would consider the advanced age of 12, he has made two Olympic appearances, won three U.S. championships, and is currently ranked 12th in the world by the International Skating Union. But, ultimately, it's his commitment to glamour and pageantry and his dexterous, playful handling of the controversies that dog him off the ice that have made him such a fascinating and beloved figure.
Weir has never hidden his fondness for flamboyance. He's regularly dusted in a blizzard of glitter, his signature showpiece is a routine choreographed to Lady Gaga's 'Poker Face,' and earlier this year, when faced with death threats from animal rights activists horrified by his decision to wear fox fur, he was defiantly unapologetic, responding, 'I'm not passionate about learning how animals get killed. I'm passionate about fashion, and I am not going to change something I love because someone tells me it's wrong.'
Even two Canadian broadcasters' suggestion that Weir undergo a 'gender test' during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics -- a comment that outraged the sports and LGBT worlds -- failed to ruffle the skater's sequins. 'Every little boy should be so lucky as to turn into me,' he countered.
Still, Weir is uncomfortable being labeled, refuses to discuss his sexuality, and is quick to point out that masculinity and femininity are not necessarily married to sexual preference. 'I have a very clear opinion of my own sexuality. I'm not ashamed of anything, but I want it to be out there in my own words.'
Out there it will be early next year when Weir releases his memoir, in which he promises to finally address the pink elephant riding the Zamboni machine around the rink. The book will be the latest addition to the skater's growing media empire, which exponentially expanded in 2010 with a reality TV show, Be Good Johnny Weir, on the Sundance Channel, the recording of his first single, 'Dirty Love,' which he's been told 'sounds a bit like Depeche Mode,' and starring on ABC's Skating With The Stars as a judge.
Topping off the banner year, which also saw Weir winning the 2010 Logo NewNowNext Award for Most Addictive Reality Star and the U.S. Figure Skating's 2010 Readers' Choice Award for Skater of the Year, was his acceptance of the Visibility Award from the Human Rights Campaign Seattle in September. '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,' he says. 'I hope that I can continue to inspire individuality in people regardless of age, sex, race, sexual orientation, or religion.'
See all of our 2010 Out 100 honorees here.