Brian Boitano: I Never Planned To Come Out Publicly
It sounds like President Obama's decision to add Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater Brian Boitano to the Sochi Winter Olympics delegation was exactly the push Boitano needed to get him to publicly announce that he's gay.
If Obama hadn't done so it appears it wouldn't have happened.
Calling himself "a private guy," Boitano told The Associated Press on Thursday that he never planned to come out. But moments before his presence on the delegation was revealed, Boitano realized what a powerful statement the president was making.
Obama chose openly gay athletes Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow for the delegation, as well. Boitano said his decision to say "being gay is just one part of who I am" in a statement on Dec. 19 "literally came to fruition" moments before the White House announced the makeup of the delegation.
"I don't feel that I can represent the country without revealing this incredible side of myself," Boitano said. "This is an important moment, and to represent my country in Russia, it's a platform that is so important for me."
The 1988 Olympic gold medalist hopes other countries will make similar endorsements of an open way of life by who represents them at Sochi. He's proud of Obama's stance.
"Our nation is at the forefront of trying to create a more tolerant public," he said. "The president is kind of saying to Russia that as a strong country, we believe in this and if you don't follow along, we will leave you behind in this thought process."
Whatever the catalyst, we're just happy that Brian chose to stand up and be counted.
Whether or not we presumed he was gay (or knew he was gay), there's power in someone coming out and saying the words, especially in the public sphere.