Watch: Champion Figure Skater Nathan Chen Apologizes for 'Straight Male' in a 'Homosexual Dominated' Sport Comments

Friday July 30, 2021

Nathan Chen
Nathan Chen   (Source:Associated Press)

"American champion figure skater Nathan Chen apologized this week for homophobic comments he made on a podcast," writes OutSports. On the podcast, he discussed his frustrations dealing with stereotypes "as a straight male athlete in a... fairly ... homosexual-dominated sport, or LGBTQ-dominated sport."


"I recently did an interview where I was asked if people ever ask me why I don't play hockey because of the connotation that skating is quote-unquote feminine and hockey is quote-unquote masculine. I gave an ignorant response to the question and I want to apologize for that," Chen said in a video statement on Twitter.

Outsports could not identify the podcast, but found the exchange that was saved by a Twitter user.


In the podcast, he is asked how often he is asked why he doesn't play hockey because of the feminine connotations to figure skating.

"Yeah, certainly. Especially as a male athlete... as a straight male athlete in a fairly... homosexual dominated sport or LGBTQ dominated sport... I think that there is," he began by acknowledging that there is the sentiment that some "don't really want to watch guys skate around... and dance" and would rather watch hockey. He then proceeds to dismiss that attitude as being "pretty messed up in itself." And he said that figure skating is a "genuine sport... that should not be taken lightly."

But he continued to infer that the sport needs to be shaken up with pop and hip-hop music and a freer style of skating. " I think that just having a little bit more hip hop or more of like a dance feel that isn't necessarily geared towards... posh sort of ballet style skating or movement can shift that approach to skating."

Was calling traditional figure skating "posh" a slight against its more balletic (ie, feminine) style?


Outsports took exception to his claiming that figure skating is a "homosexual dominated sport" by asking "why were there only three publicly out LGBTQ men and zero women skaters at the 2018 Winter Olympics?"

Outsports continued in its criticism: "Chen's podcast remarks were ignorant, tone-deaf, homophobic and sexist and he deserved the hammering he took from skating fans on Twitter. What bothered me from the start was that he wasted no time assuring his interviewers that he was straight, while his contention that skating is a "homosexual-dominated sport" is both insulting and wrong."

For his part, Chen heard the criticism and responded with a video apology on Twitter.


He said: ""I recently did an interview where I was asked if people ever ask me why I don't play hockey because of the connotation that skating is quote-unquote feminine and hockey is quote-unquote masculine.

"I gave an ignorant response to the question and I want to apologize for that. In that moment I had the opportunity to shut down the perception that there is such a thing as a masculine or feminine sport and to shed light that these perceptions have created an environment that make it unsafe, stigmatizing and even career-ending for athletes to come out.

"Skating is an art form as much as it is a sport. And the beauty in that is that there is room for individual expression and that's something that should be celebrated. But instead of saying something meaningful I blurted out statements that aren't even true, used language that's harmful to the LGBTQIA+ community and to women and minorities and centered the response around myself.

"This was my chance to build toward more inclusivity in the sport and I messed it up. At the end of the day I love skating and all the people in it and I'm committed to growing myself so that I can be a more deserving member of the figure skating community," said Chen. "To those who reached out and spoken up, thank you for your honesty and accountability. I'm inspired by your drive to make the world a better place."