Olympic champion figure skater Evan Lysacek (right) took to Twitter over the weekend to make a bigoted joke about fellow skater Johnny Weir's gender. Then he went the classy route — by claiming he was hacked.
Here's the initial Twitter exchange between 2010 figure skating gold medalist Lycasek and a fan:
Uh, the verdict is never out on anyone's gender. One's gender identity is what they say it is, period, full stop, end of story. Any argument to the contrary is pure bigoted bullshit. Weir has vocally and repeatedly identified himself as male. That Lysacek would publicly mock and question Weir's gender identity is disgusting and unforgivable. And it's not coincidental that this is about Weir, who receives a disturbing amount of scrutiny and gender-policing because he does not conform to "approved" heteronormatively masculine standards and because he is queer [ed: Weir is not openly gay]. This comment is a hurtful not just to Weir, but to every fan of his who is a member of the LBGTQI community or an ally. Hell, this comment is hurtful to everyone.
Lysacek seemed to realize this, but instead of simply apologizing, he first tried to distract followers by talking about a Twitter impostor posing as him (the offensive tweet was clearly from his official account), and then claiming his account had been hacked. I'm not buying that a hacker wrote the Johnny Weir tweet, especially since, as Gender Test THIS points out, it appeared right before some innocuous tweets about birthday wishes and lunches with friends. More likely: Lysacek said something homophobic and transphobic, and then tried to cover it up with various lame excuses.
Weir has worked against the exact kind of gender-identity bigotry Lysacek espoused — as Slate's Bedford Hope wrote, he once gave a motivational speech at a camp for gender-variant and transgender kids. Weir told them,
I've fallen. I've screwed up. The thing is just sparkle so much that nobody notices. Yeah, that's it. Sparkle! We've got to sparkle!
Unfortunately, there are still those who take said "sparkle" as an excuse to be an asshole, and who think of gender as something that should be policed from the outside. Weir sets an example to kids everywhere, showing that they can construct their own identities creatively and joyfully — it's truly sad that Lysacek chose to send the opposite message.
Update: Lysacek has apologized to Weir, also via Twitter.