First Openly Gay American Winter Olympians tell world: “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.”
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Gus Kenworthy, 26, a freestyle skier, and figure skater Adam Rippon, 28, posed for a series of photos which show them embracing each other and celebrating during the 2018 opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The photos were shared on social media where they’ve since racked up thousands of likes.
“The Opening Ceremony is a wrap and the 2018 Winter Olympic Gaymes are officially under way!” Gus wrote on Instagram, notably putting a twist on the spelling of the word ‘games’.
“I feel incredibly honoured to be here in Korea competing for the US and I’m so proud to be representing the LGBTQ community alongside this amazing guy.”
“Eat your heart out, Pence.”Kenworthy also posted the photos on Twitter, tagging Rippon, he wrote alongside them: “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it. @Adaripp #Olympics #OpeningCeremony” Rippon responded: “Representing the USA is one of the greatest honors of my life and being able to do it as my authentic self makes it all so much sweeter”.
Mike Pence is the head of the US Olympic delegation, a position both Rippon and Kenworthy have criticised. Speaking on The Ellen Show last week, Kenworthy called the Vice President a “bad fit”. Meanwhile, Rippon told USA today, “I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick. I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.” Pence has one of the worst records on equality of any President or Vice President in recent history and for years he has allegedly been linked with supporting gay conversion therapy. As well as this, when he was the Governor of Indiana, he passed the controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’, giving businesses and organisations the right to discriminate against gay people on the grounds of religion by refusing to serve them.
We're here. We're queer. Get used to it. @Adaripp #Olympics #OpeningCeremony pic.twitter.com/OCeiqiY6BN— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) 9 February 2018
The Vice President has dismissed claims of any tension between him, Kenworthy and Rippon, calling suggestions he doesn’t support them “fake news”. Tweeting Rippon Pence said, “I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ’em!”
Tonight I walked in the #OpeningCeremony and got to watch my old friend @Yunaaaa light the Olympic flame. Representing the USA is one of the greatest honors of my life and being able to do it as my authentic self makes it all so much sweeter pic.twitter.com/ZypvWkUBjD— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) 9 February 2018