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Brian Boitano Reveals What Prompted Him to Come Out as Gay, What He'll Do in Sochi: VIDEO


Figure skater Brian Boitano spoke Thursday for the first time about his coming out with Matt Lauer on Today, telling Lauer that his decision was prompted by Obama's strong message in sending gays with the delegation.

"When the president named the delegation, and I read in the news what his message was of tolerance and diversity, I thought, I have to take this opportunity. I think the message is so strong. I’ve always wanted to represent my country as best I could, and I knew that I had to go past my comfort zone and reveal a private side of my life that I’ve never done before because I felt that the message is so strong."

Boitano said that he didn't think he would go further with any outward protest of Russia's anti-gay laws at Sochi but it was up to each participant to decide:

"I think that we have to be careful once we go over there. I think the statement is already being made by us being on the delegation and Billie Jean and Caitlin, and us standing together united as gay people showing that there is freedom of speech, and we are successful human beings and athletes. I think that speaks measures...I encourage everybody to do what they feel is best for themselves. I never thought that I would be coming out in this way, and in a matter of 10 hours, I decided to do it. That was what was right for me at this time, so I tell everybody that I think that they should do what’s right for them at their correct time."

He also spoke about how coming out has affected him personally:

"I’ve always been a private person. I’ve kept the private side of my life special for family and friends who really knew me. I’ve never been ashamed of who I was. I’ve always been open with them, so I really didn’t feel that there was a need. I’m just a private guy, and I realize that there’s a public side of my life and a private side. I’ve always chosen to keep my sexuality private."


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  1. Public figures find themselves in that position because they want the adulation that comes with their success. To me, that suggests that they should expect and accept that their will also be an interest in their private lives. As a gay person, that also suggests to me that they should be honest and proud of their homosexuality. There is no need to make a big production of the announcement, but keeping their sexual identity a secret is the same to me as keeping in the closet. Public LGBT figures have an obligation to their community, in my mind, to be forthright and open about their homosexuality.

    Posted by: jmartindale | Jan 3, 2014 8:17:33 AM

  2. Jeebus, it looks like he has a turtle on top of his head.

    Posted by: Sean Maloney | Jan 3, 2014 9:00:40 AM

  3. @JMartinDale, I disagree. He or any public figure has every right to set the boundaries for their private lives. If someone wants to share his whole life, so be it. But if someone wants to keep it out of public eye, so be it. Boitano hasn't been in a closet for his family and friends and had no obligation to tell the world about his sexuality.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Jan 3, 2014 9:04:44 AM

  4. He had to come out or Billy Jean would not give him her autograph. What's with that hat, btw?

    Posted by: anon | Jan 3, 2014 9:16:08 AM

  5. Didn't he think that Obama chose him for that committee because everyone knew he is gay?

    Posted by: jmg | Jan 3, 2014 9:30:40 AM

  6. It sounds like he's going to take his closet to Sochi. He'll do nothing but hang out and smile without ever hinting while in Russia that he's gay. He wouldn't want to upset Putin after all. Would a rainbow pin be too much to ask? Coming out in the US when it's our brothers and sisters in Russia who need the love.

    Posted by: terry | Jan 3, 2014 9:34:53 AM

  7. Terry, do you think Russia is a land free of the internet?

    Also, do you (or Brian Boitano for that matter) think we're all blind/deaf/dumb? Girl, we knew already. We knew.

    Posted by: Sam | Jan 3, 2014 9:40:43 AM

  8. It is funny how people come out of thw woodwork (and come out as gay) for personal gain. I mean he is a has been. His coming out would have been more meaningful if he came out when he was competing.

    Posted by: Out Gay | Jan 3, 2014 9:50:49 AM

  9. @Matt27--
    If we were not still in a nation where there exists a stigma on being gay, I would agree with you. But there exists a serious need for the public image of gay people in the U.S. to change. I think of it as a political obligation to the community. Regardless of how you phrase it, public figures who claim their sexual identity is private are still using the the detriment of the rest of their fellow LGBTs.

    Posted by: j.martindale | Jan 3, 2014 9:58:28 AM

  10. Don't expect Boitano to suddenly grow a pair of balls when he goes to Sochi. He'll use his decades of experience in the public closet to great effect in Russia showing Russians that good homos keep their sexuality to themselves and never speak of it or hint of it in public. He will make a better ambassador FOR the Russian law than against it.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 3, 2014 10:06:35 AM

  11. The dude fought Kubla Khan, an evil robot king and grizzlies in the Alps. If he cared about what you girls thought about him he wouldn't have worn his TMNT cap.

    Posted by: parkrunner | Jan 3, 2014 10:08:36 AM

  12. MATT27, I think you want gay people to have special rights and privileges. No straight celebrity is given the kind of privacy that you think gay celebrities should have. Equality means equality: rights, responsibilities, benefits, costs, good, bad...

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 3, 2014 10:10:09 AM

  13. The words "come out" were never more ridiculous than when applied to the universally-understood-to-be-gay (even if that was somehow unbelievably unknown to him) professional figure skater (!) and weird-hat wearer Brian Boitano.

    How can you "come out" as gay when you're so incredibly gay -- from your profession to your appearance -- that literally the whole world has already beaten you to it?

    Absolutely nothing has changed or will changed for the always-known-to-be-gay Boitano, except that now we know he's so self-deluded he actually believed there was someone somewhere who didn't already know his big "secret".

    Posted by: oncemorewithfeeling | Jan 3, 2014 10:55:27 AM

  14. That means Obama outed by implying he is gay?

    Posted by: simon | Jan 3, 2014 11:39:50 AM

  15. Obama's intention was clear. It is contrary to his "balanced" approach that he sent two lesbians without balancing it with a gay man.

    Posted by: simon | Jan 3, 2014 11:48:35 AM

  16. Was ir really necessary for Brian Boitano to come out publicly? I mean, who didn't think he wasn't gay? Old ladies who go to the Ice Capades shows?

    Posted by: Ric | Jan 3, 2014 12:20:33 PM

  17. "Due to usage restrictions we are unable to provide this video."

    They don't even say what the "usage restrictions" are.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 3, 2014 1:54:54 PM

  18. I hate when celebrities say "Well, I'm a really private person, so I never wanted to discuss my sexuality." It's not as though anyone is asking about their favorite sexual position, whether they like top or bottom, are they big into fisting or are they vanilla, etc... Saying you are gay, straight, or bisexual still affords you a whole world of privacy regarding your sexual and romantic life. And yeah, it looks as though Miss Boitano is gonna take her closet to Russia.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jan 3, 2014 2:15:09 PM

  19. @TampaZeke : Mr. Boitano is a figure skater, not a movie star, and he doesn't go around behaving outrageously in public. Are people asking other figure skaters about their personal lives?

    Posted by: Bill | Jan 3, 2014 2:50:43 PM

  20. There were plenty of LOL's who went to Liberace's performances in LV who swore he was just a straight boy being very good to his mother. Of course, that was more than 30 years ago. But it's not hard for people to ignore the bad stuff about their pedestal idols. Look at any 'christian'.

    Posted by: steven | Jan 3, 2014 4:00:58 PM

  21. it's all about money...always will be....

    Posted by: Ankerich | Jan 3, 2014 8:14:21 PM

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