I don’t understand intolerance

I am a competitive adult male figure skater (do check out my figure skating page on my business website) and in discussions around skating and gender, I posted what I thought was a humorous comment: “There was one rink I went to where for the restrooms they had a drawing of a hockey guy for the men’s room and a drawing of a girl figure skater for the ladies’ room so I asked, “As a male figure skater which of these restrooms am I supposed to use?”

Someone obviously with no sense of humor actually replied, “There are only two genders. Male and female. What type of skates or uniform they have on doesn’t change it. Read your anatomy book if you are still confused.”

Well, this person is not exactly correct.

A very useful diagram showing the wide range of genders (click on it to expand to full screen to get a better view)

First, there are a good number of children born with both sets of body parts, they are intersexed. Second, there are an increasing number of people who do not identify as solely male or female, but perhaps as a combination of genders or no gender, called “nonbinary.” I recently published a blog about supporting nonbinary people in the workplace and use of pronouns.

Now on to the larger discussion. Why are so many people intolerant?
• Just because I am not straight like you, does that make me bad or wrong? Does my being gay somehow threaten your being a heterosexual?
• Just because someone identifies as nonbinary instead of male or female like you, does that make them bad or wrong? Is someone else’s being nonbinary somehow threaten you as a man or a woman?
• Just because someone was not born in the US and speaks with an accent, does that mean they are “less American” than you are?
• And what is up with all this hate and violence against Black people, Asian-Americans, Jews, Muslims, etc?

Bottom line – the only thing that I feel it is OK to be intolerant of is intolerance itself.

Seven more fabulous out LGBTQ+ athletes of figure skating

Two time US pairs figure skating champion and 2022 Olympian Timothy Leduc (tall person in the middle who has recently come out as nonbinary) with their pairs partner Ashley Cain- Gribble, my parents and me.

This blog is loaded with links to explore! Please do explore them.

Since 2022 is a Winter Olympics year, it is now time for my third installment of this series. My first installment published in 2016 was titled “Seven Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating” and my second in 2018 was “Seven More Fabulous Out Gay Men (since retitled people) of Figure Skating and One Bisexual Woman.”

This year I am so pleased to now include more women in my series and also mention an out nonbinary Olympian! Actually there are 8 people cited in this blog since I include the first out LGBTQ ice dance team as one.  In my first installment of this series I profiled 7 men, but now this one includes 4 men, 3 women and one nonbinary person! Three cheers for increased diversity!

Important Note 1: This blog only features athletes who voluntarily, personally and publicly disclosed themselves as LGBTQ.

Important Note 2: Why does this matter? Given the historic stigma and non-acceptance of LGBTQ people in many parts of society, it is important to profile out LGBTQ role models to demonstrate the success and excellence of LGBTQ athletes.

In alphabetic order:

Here I am flanked by US champions Gracie Gold and Jeremy Abbott

Jeremy Abbott – This soft spoken 4-time US men’s champion is remembered for his guts and determination in completing his program at the 2014 Olympics after a horrendous fall and slamming into the boards with high impact. His getting up and completing his program was gritty, phenomenal and inspirational. Link to article about this performance.

Kevin Aymoz – This 5-time French national mens champion known for his innovative moves and emotional performances was one of 6 Olympic French athletes who all “came out” together during 2021 LGBTQ Pride Month (link to article) leading up to the 20221 summer and 2022 winter Olympics.

My parents and me with Jason Brown at 2019 Skate America

Jason Brown – This US nationals men’s champion and now two-time Olympian is one of the most beloved figure skaters around the world for his always positive attitude and friendly interaction with fans everywhere. Most skating pundits agree that Jason is the world’s most artistic skater and he almost always receives the highest program component (artistic) score when he competes.

Amber Glenn – This elegant and athletic American skater came out as pansexual (being romantically, emotionally and/or sexual attracted to people regardless of their gender) in late 2020 and then in 2021 finished with her best ever US nationals competition by winning the silver medal.  (Link to Amber’s story)

Timothy Leduc – This two-time national pairs champion and now 2022 Olympian with their partner Ashley Cain-Gribble gets a second inclusion in my series. Why? Timothy recently and boldly came out as nonbinary (see my recent blog about nonbinary), becoming the USA’s first out nonbinary Olympic athlete (see article about this.)

It was so cool to meet Karina Manta and Joseph Johnson after their fabulous “Sweet Dreams” ice dance at 2019 US Nationals

Karina Manta and Joseph Johnson – Karina Manta and Joseph Johnson’s rendition of “Sweet Dreams” (link to video) received a standing ovation at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Their performance was one of the highlights of the 2018-19 season, and they were the only athletes invited to the Skating Spectacular who did not medal at U.S. Nationals. Karina in her hot leather mini-skirt played the seductress to the clean cut sweet and innocent Joseph.  They now perform with Cirque du Soleil

Kaitlyn Weaver – It is wonderful to see more women in figure skating coming out as queer. Kaitlyn and her ice dance partner Andrew Poje competed 13 year for Canada, winning three medals at worlds and competing in two Olympics. Sadly, Kaitlyn stated when coming out that she did not so during her competitive career for fear of it negatively affecting her scores.  Link to an article that includes Kaitlyn and Jason Brown.

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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 LGBTQ 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 or consulting for your organization, or pass my name onto your HR department.