–Adam Rippon, the first openly gay Olympian to qualify for the Winter Olympics, speaking to USA Today on Tuesday about the White House’s decision to have Vice President Mike Pence lead the 2018 athletes into the stadium.
“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.
The accusations of Mike Pence supporting conversion therapy stem from a statement made on his 2000 congressional campaign website, which said, “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
In November 2016, a Pence spokesman told the New York Times that he denied claims that he was referencing LGBTQ people.
Rippon has been critical of the White House in the past, and said that he would not accept any invitation should he be invited, but he also said that he will not protest during the Olympics themselves.
“I will continue to share my story, but I will participate in no form of protest,” Rippon said. “I’m representing myself and my country on the world stage. It’s 2018 and being an openly gay man and an athlete, that is part of the face of America now.”
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