By Terje Haakonsen
Some may wonder why I didn’t do this earlier. And some Don’t know what I’m talking about. Anyways, the only answer is “Yes, I should have”, but I was wrong left and right and felt caught in a catch-22.
“Be careful with what you say, you can’t win anything on the internet” I was told.
And that’s perfectly fine. I don’t want final say, far from, only to make things right.
So in my defense, I have to speak up, even though some of you have said “You don’t get to decide what’s sexist, racist or homophobic.”
And yes, I am terribly sorry for having used the word “gay” as a metaphor for “not cool & lame.”
I have and will continue to apologize for this to the end of my days.
Yet, I have NEVER EVER bashed gay people as a group or individually.
Nevertheless, I know that my former tone and language was hurtful. So this is why I write today – to publicly apologize for using the word “gay” in a condescending manner. I understand now why this is offensive, a micro-aggression and caused pain. I will do my utmost to do better.
I also regret my lame skier joke attempt on Twitter.
One intended pun with the joke “Aren’t all skiers gay” was to question “why all the fuzz?”
Sexual preference shouldn’t even be a topic in the Western World in the 21st century, in my opinion. Also, those who know me well remember that I started out as a skier before to snowboarding. So clearly the joke has nothing to do with picking on skiers.
In my 31 years in the snowboard industry I’ve worked, travelled & shared rooms with LGBTQ+ individuals on countless occasions. I’ve had a blast at every LGBTQ+ wedding I attended. I was warned not to be so old school as in saying I have gay friends. And the mother of two of my children is bisexual. So if I indeed was a “gay basher”, I must have done an incredible job of hiding it for 27+ years of my career.
I tried for years to fight for athlete’s rights, for safety, higher prize money and that the progression and evolution of snowboarding remains in the hands of the riders, not outsiders with no love for the sport.
I didn’t see anybody else raise questions about Putin’s anti-LGBT laws prior to the Sochi Olympics in 2014, nor applaud Cheryl Maas for riding with rainbow mittens and sticking them into the camera every run.
I’m not from the States, I only learned my English there and I have yet to encounter someone’s who’s visibly homophobic in our industry. Nevertheless, beyond any doubt, I have failed to grasp how hard it is, still to this day, to be openly gay in America and many other places in the world. For this I also wish to apologize.
In closing, I can’t speak for everybody, but in Scandinavia we love the LGBT+ movement.
If there is anything I can do to earn back your trust, one step at a time , please let me know.