President Donald Trump has referenced iconic queer film Paris is Burning in a tweet, prompting a fiery comeback from gay Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy.

On Monday (December 17), Trump wrote on Twitter that “the outside world [is] blowing up around us, Paris is burning and China way down.”



Kenworthy, who won a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics before coming out as gay, responded: “Accidentally mentioning Paris Is Burning is the closest that Trump has ever gotten to supporting LGBTQ people.”

Fans of Gus Kenworthy and Paris is Burning were delighted

The skiing star‘s followers applauded him for this retort, with many using quotes from the culture-defining drag documentary from 1990.

One fan wrote: “I’d say the library is open, but we know he can’t read.”

“Take PARIS IS BURNING out of your damn mouth”

— @mynameisjro

Another said: “Well done Gus. Welcome to The House of LaBeija,” while many others wrote that, as we all know, “reading is fundamental.”

A different tweeter pointed out that Trump would “bite his tongue if he knew he was talking about drag queens.”

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Other users reacted directly to Trump, either with anger or laughter, with one telling him: “Take PARIS IS BURNING out of your damn mouth.”

On the other side of the scale, a tweeter wrote: “YASSSS PARIS IS BURNING, HUNTY,” while another said: “China Way Down is the name of my new docu-sequel to #ParisIsBurning! #readingisfundamental.”

Gus Kenworthy tweeting: "Accidentally mentioning Paris Is Burning is the closest that Trump has ever gotten to supporting LGBTQ people..."
Gus Kenworthy’s tweet about Donald Trump and Paris is Burning was well-received (guskenworthy/twitter)

Kenworthy is no fan of the Trump administration. In April, he boycotted a White House reception for Winter Olympians.

The US athlete explained at the time: “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.”

He also wore a “Make America Gay Again” hat during the PyeongChang Olympics while filming a video for the LGBT+ civil rights organisation the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

The enduring popularity of Paris is Burning

The film Paris is Burning, which was entered in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 2016, shed light on the underground world of drag, tracking the New York City ballroom culture of the 1980s.

The documentary tackled problems related to racism, homophobia, AIDS and poverty, and introduced the world to voguing.

Many of the terms from this world, such as ‘realness’ and ‘shade,’ have since travelled from the queer lexicon to general usage.

Moments from the film are heavily referenced in shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, particularly during each season’s ‘reading challenge.’




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