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Being Brian Orser article in Xtra! - Canada's Queer Magazine

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by ted, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    I love reading about Orser, and wish him all the luck in the world. He seems to do a lot of things right.
  2. maureenfarone

    maureenfarone Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the article. I've always liked Brian.
  3. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    I don't know how anyone can use unsuccessful to describe an Olympic silver medal performance, but journalists sure love to do it.
  4. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Two of them, no less.
  5. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the link. I enjoyed reading this article about Brian. It seems that the "outing" by his former partner turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He's able to be who he is and live his life openly. I recall Brian back at the time of the betrayal by his former partner, mentioning how he had been worried about how he would be received by the skating world, after the "outing," particularly by SOI. Of course, Brian was thoroughly embraced by everyone, as it should be.

    Brian is one of the greats. He's contributed so much to skating, and it's fun to watch him now on the sidelines nervously cheering on his skaters.

    I look forward to seeing Brian with Cynthia Phaneuf at Canadian Nationals, and with Javier at Europeans.
  6. snoopysnake

    snoopysnake Well-Known Member

    He's one of those lucky men who get better and better looking as he ages.
  7. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    I think he said he was more worried about how it would be received by the non-skating world. His sexual orientation was already known by much of the skating world.
  8. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    What did his "pal" get out of the palimony suit?

    I thought all mags in Canada were "queer":rollin:
  9. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    The sexual orientation of many male skaters is well known and accepted within the figure skating community, but it has not been considered okay within skating to openly discuss your sexual orientation and/ or to rebel too much against the requisite macho pretenses. Sure a lot of that has changed over time, especially after Rudy Galindo's high profile career and his coming out, and after the path Johnny Weir has blazed. Johnny said in an interview last year (which is linked in the JWe comeback thread) that "Figure skating isn't as gay as people think it is." Still, he also acknowledges that it's difficult these days for skaters who are gay to be judged by 60+ years old officials who grew up in a different era. Per Johnny, "It sets up a weird dynamic, because as a skater you want to please the judges." And, it's clear in Johnny's words, in his book, and throughout his skating career that he has always strongly felt the need to be true to himself. Ergo, the "weird dynamic."

    In regard to Brian Orser, he is part of an earlier generation of skaters, so it was apparently a worrisome prospect for him to have the palimony suit made public. [See this article link]: http://www.canoe.ca/SlamSkatingArchive/nov20_orser.html

    Yes, indeed, Brian was afraid that "non-skating world disclosure" would be detrimental to him within the skating world, i.e., "his career would be ruined." Obviously, his friends and colleagues within the skating community already knew about his personal life and completely accepted him, even Scott Hamilton. Still, it was possible fallout from the "public disclosure" that worried Brian, until he received an enormous sympathetic outpouring of support from people both inside and outside the skating community. Quotes from the linked article:

    "Other skaters, both Canadian and American, guard their gayness closely because of the likely impact of public disclosure on their careers," Orser said.

    Later though, Brian said in a statement that, "I may have over-reacted in trying to protect my privacy. Over the last two days, I have received a tremendous outpouring of public support." He also received "moral support from other skating stars..."

    The point is: it was not Brian himself who decided to reveal his sexual orientation -- it came about due to circumstances beyond his control -- and significantly it was fear of the consequences of "public disclosure" that at first made Brian attempt to keep the suit from being made public. In other words, despite Scott being a friend, Brian worried whether he would still be able to tour with SOI -- Brian later (I believe during an SOI television broadcast) publicly expressed his worries, and spoke about his gratitude upon realizing he could continue his career within skating. In any case, when the palimony suit against Brian broke in 1998, attitudes toward sexual differences had changed somewhat, and they are even more different now ... (What happened to Billie Jean King in the early 1980s also paved the way for a difference in public attitudes toward "outed" athletes).

    I just found this hilarious commercial feature with Brian Orser and Kim Yu Na :lol:


    Strikes me that it would be so fun if figure skaters had more and better commercial ads and sponsorship opportunities in America, like there are in Asian countries. Figure skating certainly doesn't lack for marketable personalities, it's just that American culture does not accept figure skating as an exciting, worthy, marketable sport. And those running the sport here haven't figured out how to build toward a wider appeal. Unfortunately, IJS has only made the sport harder to understand and more off-putting to the general public, no matter how much IJS is gaining greater acceptance within the skating world.
  10. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    I did not say that he "openly discuss[ed] it". I said that it was known. He was not going around publicizing it by any means.

    And this is different from what I said, how, exactly?
  11. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Every post I make is not intended to be argumentative, overedge. There is no point to that. Since you aren't getting the distinction, and you have asked me a question. My response: No, I did not say that you said "he openly discussed" his sexual orientation. Clearly, the point I was making is that Brian had never openly discussed or publicized his "gayness" because traditionally it has been unacceptable to do so within skating. Why? Because of the long-standing fear within the skating community that figure skating is associated with being a gay sport, and culturally it has been unacceptable to be gay. Those societal attitudes and "stigmas" as the judge in Brian's case noted, have slowly changed over time.

    Of course friends and colleagues within the skating community knew about Brian's personal life and always accepted him -- he's a great skater and he always "closely guarded his privacy," and went about his business -- he never rebelled against the status quo.

    It is because the larger culture traditionally has not accepted openly gay individuals that Brian was concerned about "public disclosure" damaging his skating career. And in turn the larger skating community in general has been concerned about public perceptions of "gayness" within the sport damaging the sport's image and ability to recruit male skaters. I think this "concern" has been proven to be without merit, particularly as times and attitudes have changed.

    But, obviously, there is an inextricable connection between how Brian feared possible negative attitudes by the "non-skating world" might then impact his acceptance within skating (i.e., his ability to continue his skating career). If he had realized that public disclosure would not damage his standing within the skating world, then he would not have tried so hard at first to keep the suit from being made public.

    My posts on this topic are not meant to be an argument, simply a discussion. It is apparent from the article link that Brian's worrying about "public disclosure" is no different from his worrying about acceptance within skating, i.e., the possible impact on his career. Even though he was not going against the unwritten rule of not speaking out about his sexuality, he worried whether he would still be able to make a living within skating. One worry then is not greater than the other -- they are the same.

    I recall seeing Brian in an interview during an SOI broadcast where he discussed what happened and how happy he was that the revelations had not ultimately adversely affected his skating career.
  12. love_skate2011

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member

    out of the article, is Brian currently in a romantic relationship ?
  13. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    ^^ If you read the article originally linked at the top of this thread, you will find the following sentence:

    "Off the ice, Orser is happily ensconced in a relationship with Rajesh Tiwari, his partner of four years."
  14. love_skate2011

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member


    yes thank you for the link , sorry bout that
    I missed reading that I was focusing on about
    his training for the international students and with Kim Yuna experience
  15. The Accordion

    The Accordion Well-Known Member

    I remember an interview where Brian also expressed concern about the effect his being outed would have on others - including a nephew who was in public school at the time I think.
  16. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    Unless you personally know him and know his reasons for not "discussing or publicizing" his sexuality, this is all speculation on your part.

    He was not the only national/international level gay skater in Canada at the time, and according to my sources, who was and wasn't gay was no secret - but to the majority of people in skating, it really didn't make any difference within the skating world. It just was, and there were lots more important issues in skating to worry about than whether someone was gay.

    When Kristy Sargeant got pregnant without being married, and then decided to keep the baby, she got as much, if not more, grief and criticism from the skating world than my sources ever remember any gay skater being subjected to.
  17. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    In the US at least, there has been a distinction between skaters who are openly gay to the skating community and openly gay to the public. The same traditionally has been true in ballet, and despite equal qualifications, there has been one openly gay head of a major ballet company in the US in many decades.
  18. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

    It's not the same in Canada, ballet dancers & directors are openly gay, it's just not a big deal. Nor is it a big deal within the skating world.
  19. fan

    fan Well-Known Member

    is brian going to euros with javi and elene, or US nats with gao?
  20. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    But was it then, when he was outed. A number if my gay Canadian friends in theater and film say no, and that being out could kill a major acting career, even in Canada, at that time.

    ETA: It more to the point, how many elite sports coaches were out when Orser was outed?
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012