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Johnny Weir Will Risk Jail Time To Be Gay in Russia


The two-time Olympian says no to a boycott

Photos of Johnny Weir via Sundance

He's not skipping the Olympics no matter where there're held, he's openly gay, happily flamboyant, and he's married to Victor Voronov, a man of Russian descent. If Johnny Weir didn't have a very specific perspective on Russia, we'd be shocked. He even told us once that his dream wedding would take place in a Moscow suburb and would have a Russian flair.

In an interview with CBS News, Weir says he's not afraid to be arrested under Russia's antigay laws if his arrest highlights the atrocious treatment of LGBTs in Russia. If Weir were to represent the United States in the Sochi Olympics next year, he could be denied entry or arrested in Russia, since the implementation of the "gay propaganda" laws.

But he firmly opposes a boycott and says he would participate in the Olympics no matter where. Weir says, "Saudi Arabia, in Palestine, in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Mars, I would go. Because that's what I'm trained to do and that's what I've devoted my life to." It sounds similar to the opinion Greg Louganis wrote about, an Olympic athlete who missed the 1980 Moscow Olympics due to the U.S. boycott, stating that he also doesn't support a boycott.

Weir adds, however, that he wouldn't attempt to violate Russia's laws by doing something like kissing Voronov in public, but is wary that simply being himself could be cause for arrest: "Myself, even, just walking down the street, going to get Starbucks in the morning, and somebody could arrest me just because I look too gay."

Though he'd be scared to be arrested, "If it takes me getting arrested for people to pay attention, and for people to lobby against this law, then I'm willing to take it."

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Matthew Breen