Adam Rippon tells Gus Kenworthy his powerful LGBT rights message for Mike Pence
Adam Rippon has become something of an LGBT hero in recent months. Or as Rippon described himself, “America’s sweetheart.”
In a new interview with Winter Olympics colleague and BFF Gus Kenworthy, he opened up about what the new found national platform means to him.
Neither of the out sports stars have been shy about their political beliefs – both condemning President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
The pair even boycotted the official White House reception for Team USA, held after the South Korean Olympics and hosted by President Trump himself.
The decision caused a stir – some accused them, and fellow athletes who boycotted the reception, of being unpatriotic.
Asked by Kenworthy what he would say to VP Pence if they were to meet, Rippon said: “I would say that the young people of America are watching and are acting.
“I think that if we aren’t willing to listen to each other and have an open conversation, nothing will get done.
“On the flip side of that, the conversation is not for me, it’s for that trans man or woman that can’t even go to the right bathroom.
“It’s a conversation for the Muslim family that got broken up or had a mother or father travel and can’t get back in. I’m just using my platform to the best of my ability.”
Critics said the pair should have federal funding for their sports removed for refusing to work with the president.
That was something Kenworthy hit back at online – with some apt advice.
“To those saying @Adaripp [Adam Rippon] and I shouldn’t get gov’t funding since we skipped the White House visit: WE DON’T!
“Absolutely $0. The US is one of the only countries that doesn’t pay a penny to it’s Olympic team to train/ compete. All money comes from sponsors and private donations,” he tweeted.
Figure skating bronze medallist Rippon also boycotted the event, also said beforehand: “Olympians from the 2018 Games have been invited to go to the White House today. I will not be going. I will not stand with people who discriminate against those that they perceive as different.
“In lieu of going to DC, I have donated to a few of my favorite causes.”
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A string of other Olympians also turned down the invites, fearing being associated with the Trump White House.
Lindsey Vonn, Erin Hamlin, Chloe Kim, Jessie Diggins, and David Wise were among the other Winter Olympic heroes who missed the reception.
Kenworthy said: “When we have people elected into office that believe in conversion therapy and are trying to strip trans rights in the military and do these things that are directly attacking the LGBT community, I have no patience.”