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Out Olympic Speed Skater Blake Skjellerup Speaks Out Against Russia's Anti-Gay Law: VIDEO

Olympics

With Russia's new gay "propaganda" ban signed into law last month, LBGT Olympians from around the world are already anticipating the chilling effects that the new law will bring to Sochi.

In an interview with Vocativ, Blake Skjellerup, a New Zealand speed skating hopeful who competed in Vancouver in 2010, blasted the new law for being a major step backwards in terms of Olympic commitments to diversity and LGBT inclusiveness. 

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 7.58.20 PMSays Skjellerup:

"I think being in a country like Russia where they've decided to introduce these new laws basically saying telling children that homosexuals don't exist is a massive step backwards for the LGBT human rights movement for the world, not just for Russia."

Unlike the Vancouver Olympics, Sochi will not have a Pride House for LGBT Athletes. Blake says the Pride House in Vancouver made him realize "being out and being open is a great thing, something to be proud of and not something you should hide."

If selected to participate in the 2014 Olympics, Blake plans on wearing a rainbow flag pin as a symbol of pride and defiance. "If it gets me in trouble, then I guess so be it."  

Check out the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Out Olympic Speed Skater Blake Skjellerup Speaks Out Against Russia's Anti-Gay Law: VIDEO " »


Russian 'Spokesperson' Johnny Weir Tells Gay Olympic Athletes to Tone Down the Flamboyance or Suffer the Consequences

Figure skater Johnny Weir is a self-described 'Russophile' so the country's proposed ban on gay "propaganda" (already passed in St. Petersburg) won't stop him from competing in the Sochi Winter Olympics, but he's warning other gay athletes not to do certain things or suffer the consequences, USA Today reports:

WeirIf he makes the Olympic team, Weir doesn't want to make an issue of his sexuality, he said. For him, the Olympics should be about sport and competition. But he does have advice for gay athletes unfamiliar with the culture.

"My advice would be: Watch what you do when you leave the Village, don't be aggressive, don't wear a big rainbow flag fur coat. If you don't call attention to yourself, attention won't come to you."

Then Weir added, in a way only he can, "I'm not going to be having sex in a Metro station. And if you are doing that, then maybe you deserve to be caught."

Added Weir: "I love Russia and there is nothing that will change that. I'm a true patriot and spokesperson for their country. It's appalling they can censor their public, but I try to do everything I can. I have been in talks with different LBGT organizations in Russia with how I can help."

Out speed skater Blake Skjellerup is more hesitant: "I don't want to have to tone myself down about who I am. That wasn't very fun and there's no way I'm going back in the closet. I just want to be myself and I hate to think that being myself would get me in trouble."

St. Petersburg's restrictive law bans and impose fines ($16,000 on individuals and up to $160,000 on legal entities) on all Gay Pride events, LGBT organizations, and anything considered to be "promotion" of homosexuality.

The federal law, if passed, would enact similar penalties.


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1095

FLAMING SHOT: Don't try this at home. Really.

RAFA AND RONALDO: Hit a few balls.

BLAKE SKJELLERUP: An update from the out Olympian on what he's been up to.

NAYA RIVERA: A new anti-bullying spot from GLAAD and The Weinstein Company. Two more feature Glee's Cory Monteith and Jersey Shore's Vinny Guadagnino.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.


Gay New Zealand Olympian Speed Skater Blake Skjellerup Launches Anti-Bullying Campaign

Skjellerup

'Pink Shirt Day' is a nationwide campaign to fight bullying in New Zealand. Out kiwi speed skater Blake Skelljerup is kicking off the campaign with a video encouraging others to join.

He writes:

I want every difference to be celebrated, not challenged. I want the youth of the world to know that whatever they are feeling, whatever they are thinking, that it is completely natural. I do not want anyone to be persecuted for being themselves.

So I got involved in a nationwide campaign here in New Zealand to combat this. Pink Shirt Day is a campaign to eliminate bullying in our schools. Gay, straight, African, Asian…anyone who believes that bullying has no place in schools, and those who want to show support for those who are and have been bullied, and obviously those who are bullied, should wear a pink shirt on April 14th to unite against this.

Along with this, youth groups across the country launched a letter-writing campaign to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key. Anyone who believes in the above paragraph is encouraged to sign the letter, and share their story on how bullying has affected them.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay New Zealand Olympian Speed Skater Blake Skjellerup Launches Anti-Bullying Campaign" »


News: Michele Bachmann, Shanghai, Madonna, Indonesia

 road Michele Bachmann has raised over $2 million for her very likely presidential run.

Kids road Madonna's charities have run into a lot of bad luck recently. The FBI is investigating her Success For Kids organization for "several irregularities and suspicious activities."

 road It appears as if the Internet will continue to play a crucial role in President Obama's re-election campaign, just like it did in 2008. Next week, he will reportedly officially announce his intentions to run for a second term - via an email to his supporters.

 road Lindsay Lohan to portray Sharon Tate in new film?

 road New study reveals that "older lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in California are more likely to suffer from chronic physical and mental health problems than their heterosexual counterparts, a new analysis has found. They also are less likely to have live-in partners or adult children who can help care for them."

 road Gay rights groups to lobby at Vermont's Statehouse in Montpelier on April 12, LGBTQ Visibility Day.

 road A gay British man has returns home after spending six months imprisoned and tortured in Saudi Arabia because of his homosexuality.

Shanghai  road Police in Shanghai have detained about 50 people in the largest raid of a gay bar in that city in years.

 road It looks like Cam Gigandet's hair had a bad run-in with a bottle of peroxide.

 road The Earth continues to shake: tsunami warning issued after 6.7 quake off the coast of Indonesia.

 road James Marsden + bunnies = big box office.

 road Openly gay Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup part of New Zealand's anti-bullying day: "When I was in high school I was bullied for being gay. It left me feeling isolated and depressed. I felt like I had no one to turn to. I was lucky I had my sport to focus on, a lot of gay young people don't have that."

 road Charlie Sheen got booed on the opening night of his so-called Torpedo of Truth tour.


New Zealand Olympic Speed Skater Blake Skjellerup: I'm Gay

Blake

New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup has come out of the closet in Australia's DNA magazine, Outsports reports.

Said Skjellerup: 

"The first real issue was that I was there [at the Olympics] to compete – to focus on my skating – and to not have the focus on my sexuality. We are not yet at the point in society where being gay sportsperson is not a big deal. If I was asked during any of my twenty-something interviews at the Olympics whether I had a boyfriend or a girlfriend – in the same sentence – I would have replied honestly, but I may have replied hesitantly...Gays are too often given a stereotype. Back when I was 18, and becoming serious about my sport and my Olympic goals, if I could have seen an athlete like myself out there – with whom I could relate to – my journey would have been a lot easier.  [American figure skater] Johnny Weir meets a specific stereotype, I meet a specific stereotype and [Welsh rugby player] Gareth Thomas meets another. Being gay is just like any other personality trait: it’s multifaceted. I can’t personally relate to Weir or Thomas, and nor will many other young gay athletes out there. But maybe some of them will see something in me to relate to. The more types we provide, the more we’ll appeal to people [who are struggling with their sexuality.]"

Note: Weir has never officially come out.


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