Johnny’s World: Baby

September 5, 2013 7:58 AM6 comments

jworldI was always taught that the American dream was to be a member of the home ownership club, to have babies, and to vacation regularly. Owning a home, for a Birkin bag obsessed person like myself, may be something that comes a bit later than normal. I already have a cool job that lets me see the world regularly and slip in some beach or spa time when needed. So I suppose the weirdest idea at the moment is the idea of babies. The recently passed Russian laws concerning gay propaganda targeted at children’s welfare and the law that Americans can no longer adopt orphans from Russia got me thinking – not only about my position as a gay sportsman who regularly performs for Russian children, but also as a future father.

Realizing wholeheartedly that I am a gay man, and that the chances of creating a life the old-fashioned way – through consensual relations with a female – would have a zero possibility of success, I had to start thinking creatively.

Before I was married, I thought primarily of adoption as my means of giving a child a nice, opportunity-filled life. As a Russophile, I have studied the many good things about Russia’s history as well as many bad things including the ongoing struggles of Russia’s orphan community. I thought it only natural that I would one day adopt a Russian girl, bestow upon her a name worthy of a Tsarina, and treat her as the princess she is. It was a dream filled with difficulty and hoops to jump through but it was a journey that, come a certain age, I would be prepared to complete. Because of ill treatment by some American adopters of their Russian charges, my future family now hangs in the balance.

I can’t imagine that any orphanage is a fun or nice place to be for a child. Having worked with the Russian Children’s Welfare Society in New York, I was able to learn a lot of facts concerning the conditions afflicting the children and also the conditions of their living quarters. Drug addictions starting in the womb, children born with alcoholism and living in squalid, overcrowded rooms seems to unfortunately be the norm. To deny any of those children the opportunity to go to a loving family anywhere seems just as archaic a rule as the anti-gay laws of Russia’s modern history.

Hearing about the anti-gay propaganda law constantly on my end, I have thought a lot about my meetings with children, performing for them, and even the things I tweet or say in interviews with Howard Stern and the like. While my personality has been criticized in the past for not being “family friendly,” I think I’m a nice guy with a lot to say. Now that there is an “anti-people like me” law in a place I love so much, it really has me second guessing the things I say and do and definitely how I interact with kids.

Just this past weekend I performed at a resort perched atop an idyllic mountain in Idaho. My audience was primarily families, and after the show I had the opportunity to do a meet-and-greet. So many children stayed up past their bedtime either because they were skaters or because their parents wanted to see what I was all about. I found myself, usually a warm and hug-loving type persona, staying behind my table and waiting for the audience to ask for a hug or photo instead of simply offering. I found myself saying very little to the kids so as not to offend them or their parents. I felt uncomfortable wearing theatrical makeup in close proximity or talking about my wedding rings to adult fans when kids were within earshot.

This new law, while it doesn’t pertain to me directly as an American citizen, has affected me to my core. I question, should I even be a father? The indignant, steadfast optimist in me tries to immediately shake those thoughts away, but it’s hard when there’s even a question of my moral compass’ integrity, just because I’m gay.

I once read a quote pertaining to Jewish children growing up during World War II, a father tells his daughter, “Because you’re Jewish, you have to be faster, smarter and stronger than anyone else. That is how you will win.” I repeat that quote every day so I can reassert myself as a future “World’s Greatest Dad” sweatshirt wearer.

  • Lady Lisa

    It is very sad that because of this new law in Russia, you may never be able to adopt a Russian child and give them chances at life that their parents never could. Of course, you have the right to become a father, if you want to be. As difficult as I can see this is for you, please don’t let this new law make you doubt yourself and make you criticize your personal values. It just makes my stomoach turn when I hear that it is changing how you talk with kids, because so many kids (not just skating kids) look up to you in so many ways, and I know they want to meet you the way you ARE, not the way the propaganda law wants you to act and be. And don’t let it make you attack your validity to be a parent. You, and those like you, have the same right as anyone else to become a parent. I know as a straight woman this is all easy for me to say, but I hope you won’t let this new law change who you are or how you see yourself – be stronger than that.

  • Puma J

    Oh, Johnny! In my view you are a shining example of strength of character, grace & personal courage that I find to be an important example of being for my grandchildren. I’m sad to read that the ignorantly hateful homophobic behaviors/politics of some in Russia have wounded your heart so.

  • cyberonion

    It is tragic when politicians play politics with the lives of children who need parents or with LGBT who already face too many misunderstandings and unfair opposition. Perhaps you and Victor can find a loving pair of lesbians who dearly wish to have children and make your parents and grandparents exceedingly proud and happy. My great-grandfather was very likely gay but his child, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been consistently hetero, by the way.

  • TJ

    Q. Describe Humbert Humbert’s sexuality in one word.
    A. “Pedophile.”

    Q. Switch Lolita’s gender – Nabokov’s story is now about a
    young boy named Shota. Describe Humbert Humbert’s sexuality in one word.
    A. “Gay.”

    And that lovely double-standard, my friends, explains every
    anti-gay “children’s welfare” myth, study, statement and government policy you’ve ever heard.

    Pedophiles are included as “gay men” in study statistics, even if they’ve never had sex with or been attracted to adult men.

    If you remove the ‘exclusively pedophile’ people from the studies, here are the results. (I.e., if you meet a man who is dating another adult man, this is what you should know about him):

    A gay person (i.e. man who is or has ever been attracted to other adult men but not women) is three to ten times LESS LIKELY to commit a sex crime against children than a straight or bisexual person. Gay people are far and away the safest people for your children to be around. Why? Nobody knows. But it’s homophobia that makes people ignore the facts about gay people and believe the hateful rumors that state the opposite. If a friend or acquaintence insists on stereotyping (because everyone is a little irrational when it comes to their kids and who can blame us), just help them by giving them the studies below and explain so they can at least stereotype accurately — i.e. against bi’s and straights;) If adoption agencies really based their policies on “child welfare” rather than government rhetoric, if anything they would be actively recruiting gay couples and providing incentives for them to adopt. Any other “child welfare” policy is either ignorance or calculated and often politically-motivated fear-mongering (i.e. homophobia). That’s all.

    Please help educate so amazing people like Johnny Weir don’t have to deal with this awful stereotype anymore. The “three to ten times safer” statistic is in the first link:

    http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html
    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/winter/10-myths
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/09/18/903178/-Gays-are-pedophiles-No-Here-s-the-proof

  • teasingmecrazy

    Every parent faces challenges; don’t ever let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise. The cool part is that you’re going into it with your eyes open, planning ahead. You have time to build a strong community of family and friends who will support you and help you provide a sense of security and belonging for your child. With a secure foundation like that, a child can overcome many obstacles. You’re exactly the kind of person who would make a wonderful parent because you care enough to think these things through. And if you’re really actually worried, you could always consult a child development expert. I know some if you want an intro.

  • Marias Niks

    I was pretty sad after reading your post, because I admire your talent and wish you the best with all my heart; I am also a mother of two kids, and know the feeling to live for someone else, to try and give a better life and love to little ones, who are our future and we decide with every action and word – whether it`s going to be a happy one. I am also russian, from Saint – Petersburg, and want to say you are loved and welcome here, Russia has lots of your fans!)

    So it pains me to see the situation with todays laws as “Kuda ni kin, vsyudu klin”, meaning there is no golden middle. E.g. look what happened with Isinbayeva who just tried to express what most of the common ordinary people here think – russians are not against gays in any way, they just don’t want aggressive propaganda like gay-parades which take place almost everywhere nowdays with NO opportunity to express that you don`t want to see it. You`ve studied our history, I think you can agree that ours is a conservative country with a peculiar history, so I prefer to tell my children that gay people are those who love each other so much, they decided to be together despite lots of difficulties and the inability to have common children and sometimes the misunderstanding of others. I would really like to say that instead of the opportunity they would see naked men in women’s clothes parading and shouting “we are gay and proud with it” and…lost words – cause that`s definitely stupid and vulgar(( And we never have balance! For when you say – I am a PARENT and I think that`s NOT normal for the kids to see, people in US shout you are homofobic and here as a countermeasure – laws that will prevent good people like you to adopt. And I really don`t see a solution, for both are extremes((

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