Doug Mattis, who made history by coming out at the 1994 Gay Games in NYC has died.
On Thursday, February 9, the figure skating world lost a beloved pioneer. Doug Mattis, a 56-year-old master PSA rated choreographer and athlete passed away. He was a beloved member of the figure skating community, known for his artistry on the ice and his groundbreaking work to bring visibility to LGBTQ+ athletes.
During his 26-year career in figure skating, Doug achieved numerous accolades. He was part of the United States International Figure Skating Team and won the U.S Open and American Open seven times. In 1994 he revealed his sexual orientation to the figure skating community by skating two exhibition pieces at the Gay Games in New York City. He made history as one of the first openly gay athletes in figure skating and used his platform to normalize LGBTQ+ visibility in this highly competitive sport.
Doug’s work didn’t stop there – he also hosted several seminars on choreography for coaches all over North America, wrote articles for national magazines, created programs for charity events, and produced shows. His passion for writing never stopped – during his last years he wrote short stories under a pseudonym that were soon to be published posthumously.
He was also an esteemed coach who helped many athletes reach their dreams on the ice. He taught them not only how to perform but also how to be strong advocates of their own artistry through movement on ice like him. He always pushed athletes to challenge themselves while staying true to themselves at the same time — something that will be remembered by those whose lives he touched throughout his journey in figure skating.
With sadness, Laura Moore
To read a very nice profile of Doug Mattis from the 11 June 1996 issue of Advocate Magazine, click HERE.
To see an amazing video of Doug's skating presentation at Gay Games IV in New York City in 1994, click HERE.
Laura Moore was acquainted with Doug Mattis and submitted this post. An award-winning figure skater in her own right, Laura is an Honorary Life Member of the Federation of Gay Games.