Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje are skating in Kelowna May 18 with Stars on Ice (Stars on Ice)

Overcoming figure skating’s gender norms in Kelowna

Kaitlyn Weaver, ‘accidental activist’, is skating with Stars on Ice in Kelowna May 18

Kaitlyn Weaver is skating over social constructs and will be bringing her talent and activism to Kelowna with Stars on Ice on May 18.

READ MORE: Browning, Stojko, Osmond to skate in Kelowna’s first Stars on Ice

The Olympic skater publicly came out as gay in June 2021 after retiring from a career as an ice dancer. With her partner Andrew Poje, the Ice Dancing pair competed at the Olympics, became three time world medalists and Canadian national champions.

Weaver said that she waited until her time as a competitive athlete came to an end before coming out publicly because skating is a subjective and judged sport, and she did not want to disadvantage her and Poje’s performances due to of biased judging.

“Since then, I found myself become what I call an accidental activist and am really focusing on equity, diversity and inclusion,” said Weaver.

“I’m really looking to make skating a safer and more inclusive space.”

She said that finding a loving community helped her to feel accepted and wants to ensure people figuring out their sexuality that the LGBTQIA2S+ community is waiting for them with open arms.

Weaver explained that for some queer people, it can be hard to find the right time to feel ready to truly express themselves. She said that it is okay to wait until you are ready and feel safe, even if that takes years.

She believes that skating in Canada should be a right, not a privilege reserved for those who conform to the feminine ideals and norms of figure skating.

“When we look at the top competitions what do we see? We see mostly white, cis-gendered athletes of a certain socio-economic status.”

Weaver is working to create space for under-represented people from queer trans and Indigenous communities.

“I think there is a long way to go to change the face of what skating looks like in our country,” said Weaver, though she is hopeful for a future when everyone has the freedom to express themselves.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje  (Yuchen Wu/Stars on Ice)

@Rangers_mom
Jacqueline.Gelineau@kelownacapnews.com

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City of KelownaFigure SkatingOlympicswinter olympics