Thursday, January 18, 2018

Gay Olympian Blasts Selection of Pence to Lead U.S. Olympic Delegation

If one were to try to find the most anti-gay Republican elected official it would be difficult to find anyone more consistently anti-gay than Mike Pence who many suspect is the force behind the current Trump/Pence regime war on LGBT Americans.  Pence clings to ignorance and rejects all medical and mental health knowledge that sexual orientation is not a choice and not something that can be "cured," and believes that Christofascists should be above the law when in comes to non-discrimination laws and public accommodation laws.  Indeed, regulations to soon be released will allow health care providers to refuse to treat LGBT individuals, something that could cause very real harm in small localities with a parcity of medical provider choices.  Thus, it should come as no surprise that gay Olympian, Adam Rippon, has blasted Pence's selection as the leader of the U.S. delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics.  USA Today looks at Rippon's justified condemnation of Pence.  Here are excerpts:
Adam Rippon, the 2016 U.S. men’s figure skating champion who is believed to be the first openly gay U.S. Winter Olympian, criticized the White House’s selection of Vice President Mike Pence to lead the 2018 U.S. Olympic delegation to South Korea in a phone interview with USA TODAY Sports Tuesday night.
“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said. “I’m not buying it.”
Rippon, 28, who was selected to his first Olympic team earlier this month after finishing fourth at the U.S. national championships, said that he would prefer not to meet Pence during the traditional meet-and-greet between the official delegation and U.S. athletes in the hours leading to the opening ceremony. It’s possible Rippon would have to miss that event anyway to be part of the team figure skating competition.
“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. “I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.
 “I don’t think he has a real concept of reality,” Rippon said of Pence. “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 ‘shitholes,' I think he should really go to church."
Rippon did say in his Tuesday night interview that if given a chance to meet Pence after competing (unlikely considering the relatively short length of any delegation’s visit to the Games), he would consider it.
“If I had the chance to meet him afterwards, after I’m finished competing, there might be a possibility to have an open conversation,” Rippon said. “He seems more mild-mannered than Donald Trump. … But I don’t think the current administration represents the values that I was taught growing up. Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I really believe in.”Four years ago, President Barack Obama asked several openly-gay athletes to serve on the U.S. delegations to the opening and closing ceremonies in Sochi, including tennis legend Billie Jean King, Olympic figure skating gold medalist Brian Boitano and two-time Olympic hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow.
Rippon, who said he was bullied and teased as a boy growing up in Scranton, Pa., came out publicly as being gay in October 2015. He often talks about how he hopes his story can help others, especially young people who might be struggling with their sexuality.
Always outspoken, Rippon said recently he will not go to the White House for a post-Olympic celebration hosted by President Trump. "I said no," he reiterated Tuesday. Legendary skier Lindsey Vonn has said she will not attend as well.
But Rippon also said he will not protest for gay rights or against the Trump administration in any way during the Olympics themselves.
“No, I’m a U.S. athlete representing my country. I will continue to share my story, but I will participate in no form of protest. I’m representing myself and my country on the world stage. I have a lot of respect for this opportunity. What makes America great is that we’re all so different. It’s 2018 and being an openly gay man and an athlete, that is part of the face of America now.”
Bible thumping Christofascists like Pence pose a clear and present danger to the civil rights of all Americans.  He is a modern day Pharisee best defined by hypocrisy and bigotry. 

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