News Round-Up: April 6, 2018

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Max Emerson and Abram Hodgens (above) know how to April in style! Oh, to be in Park City right now…

• Ok, so now I have to watch the upcoming all-athletes edition of Dancing with the Stars because oh-so-awesome Olympic bronze medalist Adam Rippon will be taking part in the reality competition. Two Olympic skaters have won in the past, so, just saying… 🙂

• Fitness model Quin Bruce is giving you “off-duty Superman”… #woof

A post shared by Quin Bruce (@quin_bruce) on Apr 6, 2018 at 1:36pm PDT

HuffPost: Everyone got the Pulse massacre story completely wrong. Available evidence now suggests Pulse Nightclub was “chosen at random.”

• Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego on Donald Trump: “I will gladly work with the President when his ideas aren’t stupid and detrimental to the United States.” #SoundsAboutRight

Hawaii has become the 7th state to legalize the right to medically assisted suicide. #Good #Dignity

• For a little #TBT action, I’m digging re-visiting American Idol alum Frenchie Davis’ single “Love’s Got A Hold On Me” from back in 2012. Oh – and are those hot, shirtless guys in there…?

I met and interviewed the openly bi singer during the promo for the single and she was an absolute doll.

OUT: Gus Kenworthy & Adam Rippon On Friendship, Hate Mail & “That Kiss”

In an extremely candid interview with Cyd Zeigler for OUT, Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon reflect on the adventure that was the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and the pressures most of the world was unaware that they faced.

An excerpt:

Gus Kenworthy: I got so many messages, like, “Why are you even there? You got last place.” Well, first of all, I didn’t get last place, I made it to the final. But also, I was at the fucking Olympics. I didn’t get here because I’m a gay athlete — it wasn’t handed to me. I qualified the same way that everyone else did. It took a lot of fucking grit and gumption and hard work to get to this position. Anyone that discredits it is truly just a troll.

But also, it does suck. Being out was such a fucking cool experience, but no straight athletes were checking their messages or comments the day before their event and seeing death threats and super-hurtful shit from internet bullies. The day before my event I read messages that were like, “I hope you fall, I hope you break your legs, you’re a piece of shit.” I had a message that was like, “I want to curb stomp you, you faggot.” I’m like, OK, cool, there’s someone out there that wants to put my teeth on a curb and stomp on my neck. It takes a lot to read that about yourself and know that there are people out there that don’t want you to succeed.

Adam Rippon: And then you go and represent those people. I’m an American representing the United States of America, and I would get a pit in my stomach every time there was somebody on social media with an American flag in their name. The most consistent message I got was, “I hope you fail, I hope you fall. I’ve never cheered against someone in my entire life.” That was really consistent — it was pretty much across the board.

That somebody could go out of their way to say they’re proud of their country and that they love it, and they’re a patriot, and then turn around and taunt their athletes is incredibly disrespectful. They’re the opposite of a patriot. You don’t represent America. You represent you and your family and your small-minded whatever. That’s not American.

But the boys of winter make it clear that PyeongChang was very much a huge net positive for them as the first out men to represent the U.S. at the Winter Olympics.

You can watch the bromance between the BFFs in action during their OUT photo shoot below:

Los Angeles: Adam Rippon Honored With HRC Visibility Award

Adam Rippon (All images via Getty Images for HRC)

Out Olympian Adam Rippon was honored in Los Angeles last night with the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award.

Adam’s fellow “out Olympian” Gus Kenworthy, who received the same award last year, presented Adam with the Visibility Award.

Here’s Gus’s introduction and Adam’s full speech, which is very much worth the watching.

Additionally, Adam finally met Oscar-winner Sally Field’s son, Sam Greisman, who she very publicly campaigned to meet Rippon.

In a text message to her son during the Olympics Field wrote, “He’s insanely pretty. Find a way.” Looks like mission accomplished:

More pics from the event courtesy of Getty Images for the Human Rights Campaign:

Out Olympian Gus Kenworthy introduces Adam Rippon

Presenting the Visibility Award

Josh Duhamel of Love, Simon

Congresswoman Maxine Waters

DWTS/ANTM champ Nyle DiMarco with Adam Rippon

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin

HRC To Honor Adam Rippon With 2018 Visibility Award

Today the Human Rights Campaign announced this year’s Visibility Award with honor out gay Olympian Adam Rippon at the 2018 HRC Los Angeles Dinner this Saturday, March 10, 2018.

“One word best describes Adam Rippon — fierce,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “By being out and proud, Adam is bringing LGBTQ visibility to a whole new level while capturing the hearts of millions around the world with his incredible talent and personality. He isn’t afraid to use his global platform to speak out for equality, and we are proud to honor him with the HRC Visibility Award at the 2018 HRC Los Angeles Dinner.”

Adam Rippon made history as the first openly gay U.S. American male figure skater to compete in the Olympic games. Rippon publicly sparred with Mike Pence in the press and on social media, bringing a new focus on Pence’s long anti-LGBTQ record. Rippon publicly voiced his concern over Pence leading the diverse U.S. delegation to the Olympics.

In an exclusive interview with HRC, Rippon said, “At first, I had a few hesitations to come out, because I was afraid of repercussions that it might have. But at the end of the day, I felt like it was important, and it was an opportunity to shine a light on a subject that was bigger than me. I know when I was coming out I drew strength from learning about other people’s stories and hopefully my story will do the same for others.”

The HRC Los Angeles Dinner brings together more than 1,000 of HRC’s most active members and supporters in the greater Los Angeles area to raise crucial funds in the fight for LGBTQ equality.

Fellow out Olympian Gus Kenworthy will also be in attendance. Kenworthy was honored by the HRC with the same award last year.

News Round-Up: March 7, 2018

Ammar Alkatib

Some news items you might have missed:

• Hat-tip to Towleroad for pointing up InstaHunk Ammar Alkatib (above). How about that face??? About all I know is he lives/spends time in Madrid and is uber-handsome. Imma gonna just sit here and stare at that gorgeous face, m’k? #WOOF

• Hawaii’s state Senate voted to protect LGBTQ youth from harmful “conversion therapy.” The legislation now moves to the state House of Representatives.

• During the after show of Watch What Happens Live last night, out Olympian Adam Rippon was asked if there was anything to the rumors that figure skater-turned-announcer Johnny Weir might have been jealous of the attention Adam received at the PyeongChang Olympics. Check out Adam’s answer below as he makes it clear he’s not looking for Weir’s job.

• Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi paid a visit to RuPaul’s Drag Race and praised the queens: “You’re an inspiration, I hope you know. Because you really know your power. It’s about taking pride, and you take pride in yourself when you know your power.”

• New Hampshire’s House of Representatives passed HB 1319 which would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation. The bill, HB 1319, now heads over to the state Senate.

• Out singer/songwriter Calum Scott recently teamed up with 3-time Grammy nominee Leona Lewis for a duet version of his hit single, “You Are The Reason.” Check out the newly-released music video below. Scott’s debut album, Only Human, drops on Friday.

Adam Rippon To Mike Pence: “Are You Still For Me? Are You Still For Other LGBTQ Americans?”

Out Olympian Adam Rippon on CNN’s New Day this morning said now that the Winter Olympics are over, he’d be willing to meet with Vice President Mike Pence about LGBTQ issues.

“Now is the right time,” Rippon said. “The Olympics are over. You don’t get to make any sort of change if you don’t try to at least try to reach across and have the opportunity to speak.”

Rippon said he himself doesn’t have anything personal to address with Pence, but he’d like to see LGBTQ folks who have been affected by Pence’s anti-gay policies have a chance to speak with the veep.

“He tweeted at me and he said I want you to know that I’m for you and I’m for all the Olympians, which I think that’s great, but I don’t believe it, because when I go home, are you still for me? Are you still for other LGBTQ Americans? That’s where I feel like the tweet is almost disingenuous.”

Watch below.

News Round-Up: March 6, 2018

(photo credit: Lee Faircloth)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Paleontologist & athlete Francesc Gascó is serving serious buff and beard (above).

• Anti-LGBT bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein, who owned and operated Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon, are still trying to get out of paying their $135,000 fine for refusing to sell a lesbian couple a wedding cake even though a crowd-funding campaign gave them a $500,000 windfall. #MakingMoneyOnHate

• Some folks didn’t appreciate out Olympian Adam Rippon’s leather harness-styled tux at the Oscars, but he says it made him feel “cool AF.” I thought he rocked it.

• This Toronto man had a sexual hook up with accused serial killer Bruce McArthur and lived to tell about it. Police say he was in a “kill position.”

• Menswear ads in the Netherlands featuring male couples kissing are being vandalized. Who knew there were such haters in the Netherlands?

• Gus Kenworthy (looking totally swoon-worthy) penned a clever Instagram post in the style of a “missed connections” ad after he and bf Matt Wilkas chatted up superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef at the Vanity Fair Oscar party.

Gus Kenworthy & Adam Rippon Make A Splash At The Oscars

Ok, just because I love my Olympic boys Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon, I have to share these pics from their social media accounts as both were invited to last night’s Academy Award ceremonies.

Above, Gus snapped a quick pic with boyfriend Matthew Wilkas as they were heading out for the evening. Word is they were on the list for just about every important post-Oscar party there was – Vanity Fair’s soiree, Elton John’s party…

Gus also co-hosted the “Eonline Puppy Pick” where he may or may not have helped steer the Call Me By Your Name pup to the finish line.

And below, Adam, as always, was Adam bringing his own sense of style to the red carpet. That look included a leather harness which Adam pulled off flawlessly.

A post shared by Adam Rippon (@adaripp) on Mar 4, 2018 at 9:32pm PST

Updated: Adam Rippon’s Gold Medal Appearance On ELLEN

Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon sat down with Ellen DeGeneres today to talk on a multitude of topics including his not winning the gold medal in his event.

Adam countered the question by saying just by appearing on ELLEN – which he’s wanted to do for at least 27 of his 28 years on the planet – he feels like he’s having a gold medal moment.

Ellen did inquire as to Adam’s current “celebrity crushes,” and Adam’s first response was Jake Gyllenhaal is a “solid choice.”

I think we can all agree there.

He added that he’s recently shifted from Harry Styles to singer Shawn Mendes who he’s been “sleeping on” (but not with).

Ellen’s advice was to possibly look in the “gay men” category and he might find more success there.

Adam’s take? “Love is a funny thing, isn’t it?”

In the second clip, Adam shares why he didn’t take a chance to talk with Vice President Mike Pence about his positions on so-called “conversion therapy.”

Mainly, Adam was busy getting ready for the Olympics. But he added that he feels that conversation is one that should be had by those who have been affected by Pence’s harmful policies.

He also announces his fund raising efforts in conjunction with GLAAD to help empower LGBTQ youth because, “I want people to be accepted exactly as they are.”

From his fundraising page:

This year, I attended the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang as an openly LGBTQ American athlete. I’m proud to have represented my country authentically as exactly who I am. I want others to be able to show up to life exactly as they are. This is why I’ve started a fundraiser for GLAAD – because they are fighting for a world where every LGBTQ young person can be accepted and loved exactly as they are.

I want to give back to GLAAD by raising money to support their LGBTQ youth programing. GLAAD’s research uncovered that 20% of young people ages 18-34 identify as LGBTQ, and because of this they’ve created several programs that empower LGBTQ youth to tell their stories, produce dynamic web content and events, and receive high-level advocacy and media training. GLAAD’s youth programs foster courage, confidence and acceptance.

Will you join me to advance equality and accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ youth? Donate now and help make a difference. Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

Olympians Adam Rippon & Gus Kenworthy: Coming Out Made Us Better Athletes

U.S. Olympians Adam Rippon (L) and Gus Kenworthy (R)

In an interview with The Washington Post, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and figure skater Adam Rippon shared their thoughts on being the first two out male Winter Olympians and how it affected not only themselves but other athletes.

Both acknowledged that one byproduct of their openness about being gay was the encounters with closeted athletes and coaches who thanked them for the representation.

Kenworthy said two athletes and a coach approached him while Rippon spoke of a coach did the same.

The duo, who became friends thanks to their shared status as “America’s gay Olympians,” also noted the enormous fear and energy that being closeted took from each of their lives.

Said Rippon, “I think you spend so much time worrying about what other people think about, that you realize that you had all of this extra energy that you didn’t need to be using. And, you know, I think straight people never have this experience of coming out. And it’s such a life-changing moment that you become so strong. I gained so much power and strength from that moment.”

“And I agree with what he said about it being effortless,” Kenworthy added, “because when I was in the closet, it was so [pause] much [pause] effort to stay in the closet and constantly worrying, and fearing I was going to fall asleep before the other guys on my team and say something in my sleep, or anything. I was just, all the time, always nervous that I was going to out myself, that someone was going to find out, and it was this horrible, horrible thing. And now that I’m out, and I realize how great it is, and I’m just getting to enjoy my life, I feel like I just feel free and liberated and I’m competing better, interviews, anything, I just get to be myself, and it’s a strange thing to be thanked for that, but it’s also amazing.”

The two athletes also agreed that they felt the need to be at the top of their respective sports before they could come out in that being “the best” meant haters couldn’t throw shade.

“For myself,” Kenworthy said, “when I came out [in 2015], I felt like I needed to be the best, because that was what I thought it would take to be accepted. No one can talk s— on you if you’re the No. 1 ranked in the world, and so that’s what my whole thing was, and so I made sure that the season before I came out, I was the No. 1-ranked guy in the world, and that was how I wanted to come out. Because I felt like, ‘You can’t argue with that.’ But in the end, no one was trying to argue with it anyway.”

“I actually feel exactly the same,” Rippon said, “where I made sure that when I came out, I was skating very well, so that I would be taken seriously. And after I came out, I won my national title.”

Truly, Rippon and Kenworthy were taken very seriously in their sports.

And regarding the “gay Olympian” label? Rippon summed it all up thusly:

“I think, at the end of the day, that we’re just Olympians. And I think we’re ‘gay Olympians,’ and the next gay Olympians will just be called Olympians, and I think that’s what we really hope, that it won’t be a story.”