U.S. pairs figure skater Timothy LeDuc, who is openly gay, is also the first openly “nonbinary” athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics, meaning he does not identify as male or female. Are you confused yet?
Please stay with me.
Les Carpenter, Washington Post Olympics reporter on Thursday stated it exactly:
It is important to use words. Labels have a lot of importance. All pronouns are important. American pairs skater Timothy LeDuc was the first to openly identify as nonbinary during the Winter Olympians. He stood in the Capital Indoor Stadium hallway this week, and shared his thoughts about how he felt growing up.
LeDuc, who goes by “they/them” pronouns, claims he’s trying to break through gendered stereotypes within figure skating to achieve “authenticity.” As transcribed by WaPo:
We’ve all been socialized in the same way to believe there is a man and a woman [see: “chromosomes,” “xy” and “xx” pairings]Everyone is going to fall neatly in those categories so I’m also learning alongside everyone else.
Yes, I get it. [a need] to take time out to explain and help everyone understand, but I’m willing to do it and I’m happy to do it because I know it helps push the conversation forward and makes the paths of other queer and nonbinary people coming into sport maybe a little easier.
“From the time I was young,” LeDuc told WaPo, “I understood I didn’t fit very neatly into what was expected of me in terms of masculinity and manhood.” But…
However, I learned quickly that I needed to adhere to these things to ensure safety and to have success.
LeDuc then ‘splained the difference between “sex” and gender.”
Gender expression and sexuality are two different things. Gender can be described as an inner feeling of self. It could refer to a male, female, or mixed gender. Gender expression can be an extension of that, but it doesn’t always have to be.
While I am proud of my beard, in competition I prefer to wear makeup. As far as gender is concerned, my experiences with it are mixed. I can portray masculinity and manhood but also have a strong connection to femininity. [and] it’s just the process of letting that out and letting people see that.
LeDuc said people “focus too much on physical characteristics and focus too much on the gender binary and the sex binary.” “But we know from science,” he added, that “people exist out of those binaries both in sex and gender.” Confused? Me, too. With purpose.
Carpenter praised LeDuc and his skating partner Ashley Cain-Gribble, who are not expected to contend for a medal in Beijing, for their efforts to “attack those standards” on the ice.
LeDuc, Cain-Gribble and their team have attempted to challenge those standards together in subtle ways. LeDuc lifts CainGribble still, but this year they skated almost the same amount.
As reported by NBC Sports in early January, “the team of Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc capitalized on their record-setting short program win to snatch pairs gold with a 145.84-point free skate to claim their second U.S. National Title.”
LeDuc told WaPo he’s happy he has the “title” as the “first nonbinary Winter Olympian,” but added: “I’m here as an athlete first.”
While I’m (purposely) not an expert on such things as “nonbinary,” “pansexual,” “genderqueer,” “intergender,” and such, it makes zero difference to me — nor is it my business — whatever ridiculous label(s) people choose to attach to themselves; including those that have nothing to do with sexual orientation or anything related.
However, I have problems with non-science nonsense — in all areas, including COVID-related nonsense — being presented as narrative-driven science. We should all do the same.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a distinguished Democrat stateman, famously stated, “We are entitled to our opinions, but not to our facts.”
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