Team USA's Openly Gay Athletes Aren't Backing Down From Feud With Vice President

Ryan Grenoble
HuffPost

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Vice President Mike Pence’s anti-LGBTQ track record continues to haunt him halfway around the world.

That’s thanks to figure skater Adam Rippon and freestyle skier Gus KenworthyTeam USA’s first two openly gay athletes competing in the Winter Olympics.

The two have made it clear they aren’t backing down from their criticism of Pence’s selection to lead the U.S. delegation to Friday’s opening ceremony.

Rippon and Kenworthy both published photos on social media Friday from the opening ceremony, with captions that subtly ― and not so subtly ― called out the vice president’s history of undermining LGBTQ rights.

“The 2018 Winter Olympic Gaymes are officially under way!” read the caption on one of Kenworthy’s Instagram posts Friday. “I’m so proud to be representing the LGBTQ community alongside this amazing guy! Eat your heart out, Pence.”

Over on Twitter, Rippon added, “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 .” 

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“We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it,” read another tweet from Kenworthy.

As a reminder: In 2006, Pence predicted marriage equality would result in “societal collapse.” While running for Congress in 2000, he promoted reallocating funds from HIV/AIDS research to “institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior” instead. Pence press secretary Alyssa Farah told HuffPost last month that Pence denies supporting gay conversion therapy, calling the claims against him “totally false with no basis in fact.” The statement seemingly contradicts statements he made on his own campaign website.

Pence’s record as vice president continues to be staunchly anti-LGBTQ.

Rippon first called out Pence in an interview with USA Today last month, focusing on the hypocrisy of Pence’s defense of President Trump while also claiming to be a man of faith.

“I don’t think he has a real concept of reality,” Rippon said. “To stand by some of the things that [President] Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory.”


To stand by some of the things that [President] Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory.
Olympian Adam Rippon

“If he’s OK with what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called ‘shitholes,’ I think he should really go to church,” Rippon added.

Pence reportedly asked to meet with Rippon last month to smooth things over before the games, but was rebuffed. The skater’s mother, Kelly, clarified the Olympian didn’t refuse ― he just didn’t want to meet until after the competition was over.

Kenworthy echoed Rippon’s criticism earlier this week during an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” explaining why he thought Pence was a “bad fit” for the Olympics.

“To have somebody leading the delegation that [has] directly attacked the LGBTQ community ... just seems like a bad fit,” he told DeGeneres. “I feel like the Olympics is all about inclusion and people coming together, and it seems like it’s not really doing that.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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