Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quebec Gay and Lesbian Council calls on broadcasters to apologize for homophobic slurs on skater Johnny Weir

Montreal, 18 February 2010 – The Conseil québécois des gais
et lesbiennes (CQGL) expressed its indignation at the outrageous homophobic
statements by Alain Goldberg and Claude Mailhot on the show “Le réveil
olympique,” aired February 17 on Quebec;s RDS sports network. The CQGL is
calling for a public apology from these persons for their offensive and degrading
comments regarding figure skater Johnny Weir and his short program performance
the previous day.

The CQGL regards it as unacceptable for a sports commentator
and host to mock and denigrate an athlete in this way because of his demeanour
and non-conformity with gender stereotypes. Throughout the exchange, Mailhot
and Goldberg, while paying lip service to Weir’s right to be who he is, attacked
Weir for his supposed negative effect on the sport, and even suggested that
Weir should undergo gender testing.

Among the statements, each more insulting than the last,
Alain Goldberg went so far as to say that Weir gives a bad image of figure
skating and is a very poor example because people will think that boys who
practise this sport will become like him. Worse yet, Mailhot and Goldberg
suggested that Weir should undergo testing to determine if he is a man or a
woman, and wondered whether he should not be participating in women’s figure
skating instead.

“These people attacked not only the athlete, but also gays,
bisexuals, and heterosexuals who do not conform to social stereotypes of gender.
Their words perpetuate homophobic stereotypes,” said CQGL chair Steve Foster. “It’s
even more distressing considering that one of them used to be an assistant deputy
minister in the Quebec Ministry of Education, Leisure, and Sport.

“Their comments are a blot on the Olympic spirit and their
professions,” Mr. Foster concluded.

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