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Gay Figure Skater Adam Rippon Is Not Here for Mike Pence’s Bullsh*t

We are just a few weeks away from the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, and this year’s Thank You, Mom commercial from P&G feels more important than ever. When our athletes put it all on the line this year, they are doing it under one flag that is carried by multiple religions, genders, backgrounds, and sexual orientations. Even in a divided country, when we cheer for America and American Olympians, we are by extension cheering for diversity.

The #LoveOverBias P&G campaign tells us to “imagine if the world could see what a mom sees.”

Olympian figure skater Adam Rippon’s mom saw courage. She saw determination. She saw love. She and the rest of the world will soon see her son on the biggest stage of his life when Rippon hits the ice at the 2018 Winter Games.

Some people will ignore Rippon’s grace and fearlessness and will only see a label, however.

Adam Rippon is openly gay. The P&G commercial nodded to that fact by portraying a male figure skater with a black eye. His mom takes him in her arms and gives him the support he needs to carry on.

Vice President Mike Pence has not been one to support queer people like me or gay men like Adam. Pence has supported gay conversion therapy; when he was governor of Indiana, he passed a “religious freedom” bill that allowed businesses to refuse services to gay people; he is opposed to gay marriage; and President Trump joked in an interview that Pence wants to “hang them all” when asked about gay rights.

Mike Pence is not an ally, and he has done little to lead this country to a place of inclusion, yet he will be one of the people to lead the American delegation—our diverse group of Olympic athletes—to South Korea.

Adam Rippon is having none of it.

In an interview with USA Today, Rippon said:

If it were before my event, 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.

I don’t think Pence has a real concept of reality. To stand by some of the things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory. If he’s okay with what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called ‘s—holes,’ I think he should really go to church.


Adam Rippon was recently asked in an interview what it’s like to be a gay athlete in sports. He said, “It’s exactly like being a straight athlete. Lots of hard work but usually done with better eyebrows.”

Rippon is going to South Korea to compete, and his only judgment should be from the people grading his skating performances. He is not there to make nice or shy away from who he is. Nor is he offering any apologies.

Rippon’s mom is the person who pushed him to the Olympics, and she matters much more than the man leading him there.

Good luck, Adam!