Men’s Figure Skating Association To Consider Non-Gay Members
Colorado Springs, Colorado (AP) – Amid preparations for the upcoming Winter Olympics, the United States Figure Skating Association is weighing an amendment to its membership eligibility guidelines that would remove the requirement for male figure skaters to be homosexual.
The move comes against the backdrop of tensions surrounding the treatment of gays in Russia, where the Olympiad is to be held. USFSA President Patricia St. Peter said in an interview that the change to the eligibility requirements would provide US skaters with the plausible deniability of belonging to such a persecuted group, an association likely to exacerbate tensions with the local populace and government. Homosexuality is considered illegal in Russia.
She acknowledged, however, that the move is largely symbolic, as she is aware of few, if any, non-homosexual men capable of competing in figure skating at an Olympic level.
The USFSA measure, if approved, would put the Association in the company of several other trade groups that, in the interest of diversity, have made efforts to attract heterosexual men into their ranks. Most recently, the Hairstylists’ Organization – Men’s Order (HOMO), an umbrella group of salon owners and employees, issued a statement in July welcoming its first non-closeted heterosexual member. Last May, the Fashion Artists’ Group (FAG) put out a call for applications from non-gay men. Both HOMO and FAG spokespersons declined to provide the specific numbers of successful applicants.
No such requirement exists for the male half of pair ice skating; in fact the annals of figure skating are full of torrid love affairs between the halves of such performing couples. Nor are ice dancing couples required to maintain one orientation or another, or even to avoid complicated associations with primal cultural taboos – in fact a prominent ice dancing team in the early 1990’s included a French brother and sister, and the nature of the ice dancing routines necessitates gazing longingly into each other’s eyes; the sight of a brother and sister doing so enabled audiences to experience an awkwardness far beyond anything related to sexual orientation.
The US Men’s Weightlifting Team gave a supportive grunt.