American figure skater and two-time Olympian Johnny Weir and his husband Victor Weir-Voronov, an Emory graduate, have signed on to donating their papers to the LGBT collection at Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Collection (MARBL), according to a press release from Emory University.
The skater, a three-time U.S. champion and world bronze medalist, is known professionally still as Johnny Weir but in his private life he and his husband share the last name Weir-Voronov.
Weir met Voronov in Atlanta and traveled frequently to the city to court him, he told the GA Voice in December 2011.
The couple married in a civil ceremony on New Year’s Eve in 2011. They now live in New Jersey, where Weir is from.
“I’m so honored and excited to have my things preserved and not just sit in my closet, get passed down to my children’s children and eventually get thrown away once I’m long gone,” Johnny said in a prepared statement from Emory University.
Added Victor, “The times are changing very quickly, and the movement is happening right now. Thirty years from now, people are going to look back and say, ‘I can’t believe these people were oppressed and didn’t have equal rights.’ ”
Randy Gue, curator of MARBL’s LGBT collection, said the collection “provides a fascinating perspective on marriage equality.”
“Victor and Johnny are a high-profile, LGBT married couple on a global scale,” Gue said in a statement. “It broadens our collection in a number of ways in a much larger sense, with a global perspective. It’s not that easy to find collections that have that kind of reach.”
From the release: “The collection documents Johnny Weir-Voronov’s athletic career and achievements, Johnny and Victor’s professional and public lives, and the couple’s relationship. It also contains an array of correspondence, artwork, photographs, scrapbooks and other materials Johnny’s fans have sent him.”
Johnny retired from competitive skating in October and is a figure skating analyst for NBC Sports who will be covering the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next year. Despite Russia’s recently passed anti-gay legislation, Weir has publicly opposed a boycott of the games much to the dismay of LGBT activists. He explained why in a recent blog:
I have been defending athlete’s rights to compete in Sochi, despite Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, and have publicly opposed a boycott. This is an issue that is very heated for many LGBT activists who want to protect and save the Russian LGBT community, and I whole-heartedly applaud their bravery. I may not agree with all their tactics nor do I have the sense of responsibility that they have, but any selfless act is worth applause.
Despite many activists bravery, they also have a very pointed way of trying to make everyone around them an activist and to stand for a cause. My stance of being pro-athlete before being pro-gay has ruffled so many feathers and it becomes difficult to speak publicly because of this fight. As a non-confrontational person, I take it very hard (obviously) when I offend people or they feel the need to tell me that I am awful. Many activists also believe that change starts with a revolution, a term that terrifies me. I am not against activism in any way, but I don’t have the strength of character to not only revolutionize my life on a daily basis but also the lives of others. Our differences are vast, but we all live for a purpose.
Victor graduated from Emory in 2005 with a degree in political science and got his law degree from Georgetown University in 2008. He is an attorney in New York where he is transitioning from corporate law to entertainment law.
The Weir-Voronovs join Atlanta lawmakers and activists state Rep. Karla Drenner, Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan, former Doraville City Councilmember Brian Bates and longtime LGBT activist Ken Britt who also recently donated their papers to Emory University.