Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon
talked coming out in accepting an award on Saturday.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC),
presented Rippon with its Visibility Award at the 2018 HRC Los
Fellow Olympian Gus Kenworthy, 26,
presented the award to Rippon, whom he described as a “beacon of
light.” He also talked about the backlash he and Rippon received
for being open about their sexuality.
“It was just such an incredible
pleasure and an honor to stand beside him as two out proud gay
athletes representing the United States of America in the Winter
Olympics,” Kenworthy said. “We both felt the love and the
support from all of you, from our nation, from our community, but we
also felt backlash. We felt hate because we were being open about
who we are. But neither of us, especially Adam, ever toned it down.”
skier Gus Kenworthy reveals homophobic social media abuse.)
In accepting his award, Rippon said
that he felt “different” growing up in a small Pennsylvania town.
“I struggled with who I was for a
very long time,” Rippon
said. “I was embarrassed to come out because I was fearful
that those closest to me would think I had been lying to them and
that I was a fraud.”
He said that he felt “reborn” in
sharing his sexuality for the first time with another person.
“Coming out has been the most
liberating experience of my life. I hope that everyone, regardless
of their sexual orientation, has their own coming out experience.
When you can share who you are with the world, you will find great
power,” Rippon, 28, said.
“Being gay is just a fun fact about
me,” he later added, noting other “fun facts,” including that
he graduated top of his high school class. “Like, I was
homeschooled. But top of the class is still top of the class,” he