I think it's safe to say that we are all in love with openly gay figure skater Adam Rippon: he who, at age 28 (which is like, octogenarian status in fucked up figure-skating years) competed at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea; he who was the first openly gay American man to compete in the Olympic games; he who said during those games that he'd love "a Xanax and a quick drink" before his skate; he who wore a HARNESS to the OSCARS (by Moschino, no less) a mere few days ago.
Need another reason to be in love with the outspoken American icon? Speaking with CNN, Rippon said that Vice President Mike Pence, known anti-LGBTQ deplorable, first developed an interest in meeting with the skater after an article surfaced in which he shared his thoughts on what it meant for the then newly-minted candidate to lead the Senate. (And of course, we now have actual proof that the arch-conservative Pence has used his leadership status to oppose rights supporting the LGBTQ community and those affecting women, so Rippon wasn't wrong in his initial criticisms).
Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon says he is now willing to meet with Vice President Mike Pence: “Now is the right… https://t.co/kqtQ3Vd1fD
At first, Rippon said that Pence's initial request to meet — which, of course, his communications team categorically denied attempting to set up — did not come at the right time.
Interestingly, and in characteristically patriotic fashion, Pence tweeted his support for the American competitors in the Olympics, then eventually tweeted Rippon to voice his support.
Headed to the Olympics to cheer on #TeamUSA. One reporter trying to distort 18 yr old nonstory to sow seeds of divi… https://t.co/Oe6bUNrARs
— Vice President Mike Pence (@Vice President Mike Pence)1518066278.0
.@Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GRE… https://t.co/xk6LQYfiKf
— Vice President Mike Pence (@Vice President Mike Pence)1518066386.0
This is where I fall in love with Rippon all over again. In an effort to continue using the platform granted him by his participation in the recent games, he told CNN: "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? Are you still for that trans man or woman that wants to join the military? Are you still for that lesbian couple that wants to get married? That's where I feel like the tweet is almost disingenuous." Say it for the back row!
What's really great about this is now Rippon is making it clear that he'd like to have a conversation with Mike Pence now. And it also represents a wonderful example of what to do when you have a platform of power, recognition, and privilege. It also is worth mentioning that in the fight for equality, white bigots listen best to white people, bigoted or not. We know it's true that if Rippon were, for example, a person of color, there would be no room for said conversation. Rippon seems to know this, and is playing his cards right, which in itself deserves acknowledgment.
Anyway, elsewhere in the interview, Rippon said that meeting with Pence wouldn't just satisfy him; it would be a discussion for all whose lives have been negatively impacted by Pence's policies. After all, let's not forget that LGBTQ rights, women's rights, and civil rights are human rights. Our lingering million-dollar question: can this convo be broadcast for us all to see? Seeing Mike Pence become shook, bothered, and bewildered by what would most certainly be Very Direct Questions (TM) by Rippon would be the true Olympic gold medal that Rippon didn't take home. Except, we'd all get get some gold.
"Now is the right time," Rippon said. Let that ring in your ears a minute. Because is it ever.