Caitlin Weaver hopes her coming out story will finally break the female archetype of figure skating
This is a sport full of creativity, beauty and strength. Ice dance is poetry in motion, two skaters weave together gracefully on the ice. Their accuracy and symmetry are amazing.
But figure skating is also full of judgment-an international panel of judges carefully examines every detail and then provides their scores.
Canadian ice dancer Kaitlyn Weaver hides her so-called little secret, precisely because she knows that she is being watched every second, and this suffocating heaviness makes her feel suffocated.
But now, two years after leaving competitive figure skating, Weaver is tired of dancing and maintaining appearance, just to be accepted in her favorite sport.
On Friday, the 32-year-old woman became one of the few Olympic female figure skaters publicly identified as queer.
“I’ve reached the point where I don’t want to pretend anymore. Keeping a part of myself really stressful for my mental health,” Weaver told CBC Sports in an exclusive interview. “I think now is the right time in my life to share the queer women I identify.
“I think I need to stand up because I know that there are many young girls and sports people who are afraid to share their identities,” she said.
For 13 seasons, Weaver played alongside her skating partner Andrew Poje. The two have always been at the top of the standings-they ranked in the top five of the nine years, are three-time ice dance world medal winners, won silver medals in 2014, and bronze medals in 2015 and 2018, and participated in 2014 And the 2018 Canadian Olympics.
But looking at their success, Weaver knew something was missing. She couldn’t be sure of this, because she didn’t allow herself to go to that dark and terrible place to face her sexuality.
Watch | Kaitlyn Weaver on her efforts to come out:
“I never considered coming out”
“We participated in a critical sport. We were afraid of getting a toe out of touch because we were afraid of what people would think of us,” Weaver said. “I never considered coming out. This is not on the table for me. Fear. This is not even a real conversation I can have with myself.”
Weaver didn’t want to risk coming out at the risk of her so-called livelihood-she felt it would have a negative impact on their scores.
“In many countries in the world, it is still not safe to come out. In an international team, who knows what someone would say about you?” she said. “It makes you hide deeper.”
But now, Weaver felt it was time to move forward. For herself. And those who chase her. Weaver knew what was at stake, because she was now able to see how much weight she had gained by not allowing herself to devote herself to life and competition.
‘What makes us different is good’
“This is a struggle,” she said. “It is difficult for me to accept this part of myself, but I think we have all had our own experiences in the past year, knowing that it is okay and worth celebrating what makes us different.”
In the past year, having time to reflect during the pandemic, Weaver confronted her sexuality in a way she had never seen in a game. She said it was time to look in the mirror and face the matter.
Weaver said that throughout her career, it was easy to put it in a secondary position because she was always in action and would be distracted by acting.
But maintaining this appearance has already paid a price.
“I’ve been doing this all my life. Skating first, and personal life second. I’ll figure it out later,” she said. “But it has reached the point where it is no longer healthy. When the pandemic hits, I only know it will be it. It’s time.
“I have nowhere to hide. I need to do this for myself.”
Watch | Weaver and Poje Waltz won fourth place in the World Team Trophy Competition:
Break the prototype
Weaver was born in Houston, Texas. She moved to Canada at the age of 17 and devoted herself to her sports. This is all her identity and how people recognize her.
“In my sport, young girls and women are under a lot of pressure to play prototypes. I think we have a responsibility to say yes, you can be that, but you can also be all other things,” Weaver said. “I am also those things. I like to play the role of a princess and like to wear long robes.
“So when I found myself and sexual orientation, the two things didn’t match. I didn’t have a role model like me in my sport,” she said.
When Weaver shared her hopes and dreams for the future, her voice now had a sense of relaxation and vitality, which she said she hadn’t felt for a long time. Although she has a new perspective, people still worry about how people will view her.
“I’m not sure what is waiting on the other side of this. There is a lot of excitement. Some fear. But you know what, it’s time to stop being a thing. I’m ready to enter the light.”
Watch | Kaitlyn Weaver reminds girls that exercise is for everyone:
Pave the way for others
Weaver now calls Manhattan, New York home. She said that she found a group of people who were very supportive of her there, and in the process of a huge transformation for her, she felt surrounded by their love.
This was also Pride Month—something Weaver had celebrated in the past, but not the way she wanted it. The situation has changed this year.
“In my bones I feel that I can celebrate in different ways. I don’t celebrate this little secret corner in my heart anymore,” she said. “This is what happened for a long time, my little secret. It feels great to be able to share all my heartfelt thoughts.”
Weaver hopes that she will open up a new sporting path for those who are still in the game.
“It’s really important to look around and ask what we’re missing here. This also applies to racialized people. Look at our sport. It’s white. It’s heterosexual, it’s elite,” she said.
“Why are there no queer women? What’s the reason? That’s why I think my job is to ask why we feel insecure. Why can’t you be another? Our job is to critically look at our movement and say there is no Which people are represented.”