A Canadian figure skater has joined forces with an anti-homophobia advocacy group in the wake of coming out and announcing her opposition to Russian anti-gay laws.
Calgary long skater speed skater Anastasia Bucsis announced on Wednesday that she was joining forces with Athletes Ally a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote respect for individuals involved in sports regardless of their sexual orientation.
On Wednesday’s announcement, she said: “Taking on an advocacy role seems natural, because I am proud to be both an athlete and gay,” Bucsis said in a press release. “I started speed skating at the age of four, and wasn’t aware of any other gay skaters when growing up; during my ‘coming out’ I was very anxious and lonely because I lacked having an ‘out’ athletic role model. I didn’t have any other gay athletic friends, or any mentors that I could readily turn to for advice or support. I am ready to help any athlete out there who is considering coming out of the closet. It’s the best decision I ever made.”
Athletes Ally also announced on Wednesday that 20-year-old Australian snowboarder Beth Brockhoff has joined the effort.
Ms Bucsis is among a handful of athletes who have now spoken out against the gay propaganda law, last month Sweden’s Emma Green-Tregaro drew headlines when she painted her nails in the colour of the rainbow in a show of solidarity for Russia’s LGBT community while competing at the World Athletics Championships.
President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. Other laws banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, and one which enables organisations receiving funding from abroad to be fined as “foreign agents”, were also passed.
Today it was revealed that figure skater Johnny Weir won’t be competing at the Winter Olympics in Sochi after failing to register for the national championships – an event which selects the US 2014 team.