Out freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy on
Saturday received the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Visibility Award
at its 13th annual Utah Gala in Salt Lake City.
Kenworthy came out in a 2015 ESPN cover
In accepting his award, the 25-year-old
Kenworthy said that he had been hiding his sexuality since he was
“I remember visiting a hot springs
with my family when I was about seven years old,” Kenworthy said.
“There was a lifeguard on duty there, who was like nothing I had
ever seen. One of my action figures come to life. He was muscular
and tan, and he oozed confidence in his red swim trunks. I noticed.
And instinctively, I knew that my noticing was something I couldn't
“And that secret was the beginning of
my life in the closet.”
“Fast forward almost 20 odd years
from that first realization in the pool, and here I am, accepting an
award for my visibility as an out and proud gay man. And isn't that
ironic?” he said.
Kenworthy added that he expected to
lose everything from coming out and had not considered what he could
“Looking back it almost makes me
laugh. I thought I was going to lose everything, and what I never
expected was everything that I was about to gain. I took a leap of
faith into the deep end of the pool, and you, the LGBTQ community,
you guys were that hot ass lifeguard in the red swimsuit. You didn't
let me drown,” Kenworthy