The first two openly gay U.S. Winter Olympians took to social media this Friday with a special message for Vice President Mike Pence, telling him, “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.”
“The #OpeningCeremony is a wrap and the 2018 Winter Olympic Gaymes are officially under way!” 26-year-old skier Gus Kenworthy said in a post on Instagram that included a photo of himself and 28-year-old figure skater Adam Rippon. “I feel incredibly honored to be here in Korea competing for the US and I’m so proud to be representing the LGBTQ community alongside this amazing guy! Eat your heart out, Pence. #TeamUSA #TeamUSGay”
Kenworthy also posted a similar message to Twitter, writing, “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it. @Adaripp #Olympics #OpeningCeremony.”
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 9, 2018
Rippon then chimed in, retweeting Kenworthy’s tweet with the caption, “I am 1000% here for this new and beautiful friendship.” In an earlier post on Twitter, Rippin wrote that representing the U.S. in the Winter Olympics “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.”
Tension between Pence, who is a staunch evangelical Christian, and gay Olympians has been festering for weeks. In January, Rippon scoffed upon hearing that Pence would be leading the Olympic delegation to South Korea and called him out for his history of anti-gay views. Pence’s anti-gay worldview is well documented. He once said gay couples are indicative of a “societal collapse.” He opposed a law that prohibited discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace. He was a supporter of the anti-trans “bathroom bill” insanity. Even if he’s never outright endorsed the destructive and debunked gay conversion therapy, he has certainly cozied up to it.
Speaking to USA Today last month, Rippon said he’d likely refuse to meet with Pence if given the opportunity.
“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,” Rippon said according to USA Today.
“I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.”