Memo: Gay Men Are Not The Only Queer Olympians Worth Celebrating
We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.”
That was the entire text of the massively viral tweet freeskier Gus Kenworthy sent Friday, moments before the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Clad in red, white, and blue Ralph Lauren-designed sweaters, it featured him cuddling, smiling and cozying up alongside figure skater Adam Rippon, serving as a symbolic middle finger to all those who discriminate against LGBTQ+ athletes.
Hillary Clinton even acknowledged the two while speaking at a conference in Los Angeles last week, saying she was “excited” that Rippon and Kenworthy would be the “first openly gay Olympians for the American team.”
These gay men have been two of the most shining success stories to emerge from this Olympics so far, having seen a deluge of media attention and widespread coverage on NBC throughout the Games itself. And Clinton was far from the only one to note they were the “first openly gay Olympians” to compete at the Winter Games. It’s a nice sentiment — but it’s not entirely true.
Yes, Rippon and Kenworthy are the first two openly gay men to compete in the Winter Olympics for the United States, ever. But they are not the only ones in this group of “first openly gay athletes” to compete for Team USA.