Posts Tagged ‘anti-bullying’

Seven More Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating (and One Bisexual Woman)

I met US pairs skaters Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc at the 2017 US Nationals where they won the pairs bronze medal.

Important Note: with one exception, this blog only features athletes who voluntarily, personally and publicly disclosed themselves as gay.

Since my original “Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating” is almost two years old, I decided to write this second installation with 2018 being an Olympic year. In addition to my original blog’s Adam Rippon and Eric Radford more than likely competing, Brian Orser coaching and Johnny Weir announcing the 2018 figure skating at this year’s Olympics, this blog contains a few more people we should be seeing there.

Before or after reading this blog, you may want to relook at the original 2016 blog where I also provided some information and link about figure skating not only being a legitimate sport, but about how truly difficult it is.

Note January 18th: A few weeks after publishing this blog, Outsports did an interview with and story about Timothy LeDuc. Link to the story.

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These fabulous men who are excellent role models and testament to hard work are, in alphabetical order:

Christopher Caluza cuddles a koala in Australia as he travels the world on a cruise line’s figure skating staff.

Christopher Caluza – This dual-citizen Filipino-American figure skater began his early career skating for the US, and then later for the Philippines. Christopher was the Filipino national champion in 2012 and 2013, and represented the Philippines at the Figure Skating World Championships for 3 years. He is now retired from competitive skating and enjoys seeing the world while skating in the ice cast of Royal Caribbean Cruises. Christopher is very active on Facebook as an out proud man who advocates for respect and equality for all people.

Guillaume Cizeron – Though I admit Guillaume has never made any kind of public pronouncement of his sexuality, this fabulous ice dancer is totally comfortable with himself in social media. This extremely handsome and sexy man from France (check out his Facebook page!) is a two time world ice dance champion with his partner Gabriella Papadakis. Papadakis and Cizeron currently hold the world’s record top ice dance international competitive score and are one of the favorites to win Olympic gold in 2018.

J. Scott Driscoll – Scott was a competitive American skater in the junior and senior ranks in the early 1980s, and then a frequent medalist thereafter in the US Open Professional Championship ranks. Now coaching in Palm Springs, California, what is extraordinary about Scott is his use of his skating to promote anti-bullying and acceptance of LGBT people through his beautiful and dramatic program, “Your Love Matters.” Link to performance on Youtube.

Timothy Goebel – This American skater, the Olympic men’s bronze medalist in 2002, known in the skating community as “the quad king,” helped usher in the “quad jump revolution” within men’s figure skating. Probably the most technically proficient skater of his day, Timothy made Olympic history in 2002 by being the first man to successfully land a quadruple salchow in combination at an Olympic competition. This one time US gold medalist and three time silver medalist married his long time boyfriend Thomas Luciano in April, 2017.

Timothy LeDuc – This dark-haired tall handsome American pairs skater initially competed with three different partners from 2009 – 2014 with his best senior’s pair finish of 7th in the US Championships with DeeDee Lang in 2014. After retiring and then performing on a cruise line ice skating performance staff, Timothy was called out of retirement to re-enter competitive pairs skating with a new partner, Ashley Cain. The tremendously hard working team accomplished the amazing feat of placing third at the 2017 US Nationals in just their first year together! Be looking for this tall pair with their gorgeous extensions and long lines to compete for US and world medals in the years to come.

Javier Raya of Spain (left in photo) came out by expressing his happiness of finding the love of his life, Andrew Nicholson.

Javier Raya – Javier Raya is viewed as the “number two” male skater in Spain just behind 2-time world and 5-time European champion Javier Fernandez. Javier Raya, a crowd favorite with his emotional skating, is the 5-time Spain silver medalist and will surely be making his second Olympic appearance in 2018. He proudly came out as a gay man in May 2016 by posting a charming photo kissing his boyfriend Andrew Nicholson and writing, “I have to say that right now I feel like the luckiest person in the world!”

David Wilson – this out and proud world-class choreographer has worked with several Olympic medalist in the past and will likely have several of his skaters participating in the 2018 Olympics. After his competitive career was cut short at the age of 18 due to Osgood-Schlatter disease, he toured with various ice shows before the entering the choreography field. David has now established himself as one of the top and in demand choreographers and his clients have included Olympic competitors and medalists like Jeremy Abbott, Patrick Chan, Yuzuru Hanyu, Kim Yuna, Fumie Suguri and Johnny Weir.

Popular multiple time Japanese champion Fumie Suguri (photo_by_Carmichael)

And though this blog is specifically about gay men, I would like to do a shout out to female skater Fumie Suguri. This four-time Japanese National Champion finished 5th in the 2002 Olympics and 4th in 2006. She came out in the Japanese media in 2014 as bisexual, quite a bold move within the Japanese culture.

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Blog author Stan Kimer, in addition to training as an adult competitive figure skater himself, is a career development and diversity consultant with a deep expertise in corporate LGBT diversity strategy and training. Please explore the rest of my website (which includes my own figure skating page) and never hesitate to contact me to discuss diversity training for your organization, or pass my name onto your HR department.

My 2014 Bullying Awareness Month Blog – Introducing a Dynamic New Organization

Tyler Clementi, the young man for whom the foundation is named

Tyler Clementi, the young man for whom the foundation is named

At the end of the summer this year, a good and very respected friend, Sean Kosofsky, moved from Raleigh, NC to New York City to become the Executive Director of a new nonprofit, the Tyler Clementi Foundation. I just knew this would be a great organization to highlight for this year’s Bullying Awareness Month blog.

For those not familiar, here is a link to Tyler Clementi’s story.

STAN: “Sean, first can you tell me a little about the Tyler Clementi Foundation, like its mission and vision?”
SEAN: “The Tyler Clementi Foundation is a national organization committed to ending bullying, harassment and humiliation, online and offline, especially for marginalized youth. Our mission is to promote safe, inclusive and respectful social environments in homes, schools, campuses, churches and the digital world for vulnerable youth, LGBT youth and their allies. We have only been around for a few years but the Clementi family has spoken to well over 10,000 folks around the country and continue to build a strong organization and board through their committed time and energy. In the coming months we hope to expand our programs, increase our visibility and build lasting partnerships that will help us reduce bullying.”

Seans nametag
STAN: “This foundation is quite new. Who started it and why?”
SEAN: “We were incorporated in 2010 but really started to grow in the past year. The Tyler Clementi Foundation was started by the family to provide a vehicle to help stop the suffering of other youth. The Clementi family story is powerful and it captured the attention of people all over the world. Instead of just mourning the loss of their son and then retreating, they decided that something had to be done and if they could build on the public outpouring of support, they should.”

Tyler was a gifted violinist and earned in seat in Rutgers University's esteemed orchestra as a freshman.

Tyler was a gifted violinist and earned in seat in Rutgers University’s esteemed orchestra as a freshman.

STAN: “What is particularly unique about the Tyler Clementi Foundation? What work are you doing that no one really is?”
SEAN: “We want to differentiate ourselves in this sector by developing high quality programs, rooted in research that can measurably improve the lives of young people. We don’t want to create any unnecessary duplication of services. We want to fill gaps in the sector, especially on college campuses and online. We need more research on effective messaging and more tools to get into the hands of parents and people of faith on how to address bullying…even if their child is bullying.”

STAN: “What spoke to you and personally drew you to move now from North Carolina to New York to lead this work?”
SEAN: “Though it finally passed after I moved to NC, I helped author and create the foundation for the anti-bullying law in Michigan. I have been in the struggle for LGBT equality for over 20 years. The issue that drives most of my activism is my undying passion to stop people’s suffering in silence. The isolation and fear of the closet damaged me as a young person and I don’t want it to damage others. When I was given the opportunity to partner with the Clementi family to hopefully save lives and improve our national discourse…I jumped at the chance.”

Current very exciting campaign / auction with the chance to meet superstar Demi Lovato

Current very exciting campaign / auction with the chance to meet superstar Demi Lovato

STAN: “Is there anything else you want to tell the readers of this blog at this time?
SEAN: “Yes! We have a very exciting campaign / auction (link) right now to meet superstar Demi Lovato. Even a small donation helps and enters you in a chance to meet her. Also we have our Upstander Legacy Celebration (link) Nov 17 in NYC honoring Stephen Schwartz (Wicked / Pippin / Godspell) and Gautam Raghavan, formerly of the White House, for their contributions to the movement for LGBT equality and anti-bullying. “
STAN: “Thanks so much, Sean, and I am so pleased you found this position which matches both your expertise in non-profit leadership and your passion for impactful activism. I wish you and the Tyler Clementi Foundation the very best of success.”

Link to my 2013 Bullying Awareness Month Blog about the connection between “playground” and “workplace” harassment and bullying.

Link to my 2012 Bullying Awareness Month Blog which includes links to additional resources and blogs.

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