Paul Poirier on Pride, Progress, and the Next Generation of Queer Athletes

Sylvia

So happy the JGP season is back!
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Paul deserves his own news thread in GSD! :) Thanks for sharing this interview link, @Sparks, as well as @Colonel Green and @firstflight in other threads.
... Paul Poirier! :cheer:

Excerpt:
GLORY: What has your experience been like as a gay athlete?

Paul Poirier: So far in my career, it hasn’t really been a focus. I have been focused on doing what I want to do athletically. We are in this unique position in our sport where I’m paired together with a partner. A lot of what we do in terms of building our identity, or our brand, revolves around the partnership itself and who we are as partners. We spent a lot of time developing that over the last few years and have really grown confident in who we are as partners. I think by having the time to reflect over the ********* and being removed from skating because we haven’t had the opportunity to perform and compete, I’ve felt a desire in some way to translate that into sharing more about myself as a person.
[Being a gay athlete] hasn’t been something that I’ve really talked about very much, especially in a public setting. I’ve had this attitude that my private life is my private life and my life outside of skating is my life outside of skating. I haven’t necessarily allowed all of those things to bleed together. I think with the lead-up to the Olympic Games in the next year, I definitely see opportunities to share what we do and who we are to a much wider audience, and that opportunity is not lost on me.
"GLORY is an independent digital + print publication based in Toronto, covering the intersections of sports, culture and lifestyle, taking readers beyond the athlete."
 
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Sylvia

So happy the JGP season is back!
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Paul (not surprisingly) is very articulate in this interview - more excerpts:
From within my own sport, I think the biggest challenge still comes from the artistic dimension that our sport has, and the sorts of themes that are chosen, the costuming that is chosen, the music that is chosen, and the different ways that a body can move. Those are all things that are very prescriptive in saying, “this is a move that a female skater should do” or if a male skater does it, it’s very effeminate. All of those narratives, when it comes right down to it, create this atmosphere of shame for LGBTQ+ athletes who are simply trying to exist in the skating world and express themselves in the way that they want to. For myself, a lot of the obstacles have come from internalizing these narratives and then turning them in on myself. That’s what leads to any sort of mental health struggle that LGBTQ+ athletes might have in sport as they ask themselves, “ Who am I? How does this tie into what I do? How do I express myself? How do I exist in this space? Can I exist in this space the way that I want to and the way that I am?”
There are mental health repercussions that come with this territory but the more athletes we see are genuinely and authentically part of the skating community, the more the next generation is going to see that they can authentically be themselves as well. So now, we’re creating this positive feedback effect, where it’s inspiring the next generation and just creating more space for people to be open and to be themselves.
How do you think straight athletes can be better allies? What can they do to support the queer community and help cultivate a more inclusive environment?
Paul Poirier: I can think of the things that I’ve really appreciated from my teammates throughout the years, and I honestly think that the biggest thing is just to listen, to be willing to listen, and to be willing to learn. In my experience, I’ve been in such a supportive environment for the entirety of my career. I’ve been at the same training center now for over 20 years and so I’m very lucky to have had that. I think what I’ve always appreciated most has been people’s willingness to listen, and to learn about my experiences or the experience of other queer folks. That’s really the biggest thing. Otherwise, it’s debunking this dichotomy between men’s skating and women’s skating, and I don’t mean those as disciplines. The more we can keep challenging that, the better off we will be as an entire sporting community.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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I’d like to get this photo blown up to poster size.


How cool that in one day three figure skaters came out as LGBT+
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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My future husband Paul just posted an IG story about his coming out process. Very eloquent

 

Artistic Skaters

Drawing Figures
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Three Olympic figure skaters come out — 2 gay men and 1 queer woman
There is this article about Christopher Caluza that says he plans to compete for a spot in 2022:
 

Sylvia

So happy the JGP season is back!
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There is this article about Christopher Caluza that says he plans to compete for a spot in 2022:
Thanks :) FYI, @AngieNikodinovLove started a new LGBTQ+ in figure skating thread with Caluza's article earlier today: https://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/threads/lgbtq-in-figure-skating.108407/
Caluza was active with SkateProud when Javier Raya's platform launched last year and I will post the link to SkateProud's YouTube channel there next.

Link to the GSD thread I started earlier today for the Olympic Channel's podcast that features Nick McCarvel's recent conversation with Paul, Kaitlyn & Jason:
 

ErikWilliam

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Paul deserves his own news thread in GSD! :) Thanks for sharing this interview link, @Sparks, as well as @Colonel Green and @firstflight in other threads.

Excerpt:


"GLORY is an independent digital + print publication based in Toronto, covering the intersections of sports, culture and lifestyle, taking readers beyond the athlete."
Good for all the openly gay skaters! I think Adam Rippon really opened the doors to gay skaters who were scared to 'come out'. Yes, we had Johnny Weir, but he wasn't really open, he was just coy and being "Weir-d" about it. Adam showed if you are talented and have a likable personality you can be your unabashed own person and find success. Good for Adam, and those following in his footsteps.
 
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Kateri

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Good for all the openly gay skaters! I think Adam Rippon really opened the doors to gay skaters who were scared to 'come out'. Yes, we had Johnny Weir, but he wasn't really open, he was just coy and being "Weir-d" about it. Adam showed if you are talented and have a likable personality you can be your unabashed own person and find success. God for Adam, and those following in his footsteps.
Next stop: unlikable gays! :cheer:
 

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