Connect with us

Not Fake News

Here’s why Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy doesn’t want to meet Mike Pence

Reuters

Published

on

REUTERS

Gus Kenworthy hopes the growing number of openly gay athletes at the Olympics will one day ensure the topic of sexuality barely merits a mention at the Games but the U.S. skier says there is still a long way to go.

Kenworthy, who has dubbed U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a “bad fit” to lead their delegation in Pyeongchang, became the first openly gay action sports athlete when he came out in a cover story for ESPN The Magazine in 2015.

The 26-year-old told Reuters on Sunday he was excited about representing the United States as well as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community at the ongoing Games in South Korea.

However, he said he had no intention of meeting Pence, who is often to the right of mainstream America on gay rights and other social issues.

“I don’t think I have any inclination toward a meeting, I think in terms of distractions, as my previous questions would be, I think that would be a much bigger distraction for me,” said Kenworthy, a silver medal winner in the ski slopestyle at Sochi.

The British-born freestyle skier told an American T.V. show last week that Pence was ill-suited to lead the U.S. delegation and posted a dig at the former Indiana governor on Instagram after Friday’s opening ceremony.

“Eat your heart out, Pence,” wrote Kenworthy in a caption for a photo of him and U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon, another openly gay athlete at the Games.

“I think that myself being out, Adam being out, all these athletes finally being out for the first time, I think it just shows a shift, a change, and hopefully in the future it means that it won’t be a big thing,” he added.

“It won’t be a headline, it won’t be the gay Olympian, the gay skier, the gay anything, it will just be a skier.”

CHANGE PERCEPTIONS

In making the difficult decision to come out, Kenworthy says he took encouragement from Caitlyn Jenner, who as former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner in 2015 became the highest-profile American to transition to a woman.

“It was during a time when I was getting ready to come out and obviously we are in very different situations but I thought that Caitlyn having the courage to come out and be who she was, especially in a way more public way than I have ever dealt with, was really commendable,” he said.

“When Caitlyn was Bruce he understood the pressure of the Olympics and everything else that goes hand in hand with it.

“And I think I just saw a lot of myself in the story and it touched me and came at a really important time of my life, so it was pretty impactful.”

Kenworthy said that while he has been inundated with messages of support since coming out, the reaction has not always been positive.

And that while LGBT rights have made huge strides in recent years there were still parts of the world where “being gay is punishable by death”.

“I think the only way to really change perceptions is through visibility, is through representation,” he said.

“And the more that we have that, the more normalized queer becomes, the easier it is for people to wrap their heads around it and the more we will see positive change.”

(Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Not Fake News

Starbucks will close 8,000 stores May 29 for racial-bias training

Published

on

Starbucks says it will close its 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States for one afternoon to educate employees about racial bias.

“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement.

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he said. “Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

The announcement follows the controversial arrest of two black men who were waiting for a friend at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week after the store manager called the police. They were arrested for trespassing. The customers said they were waiting for another man to arrive. That person arrived at the store just as they were being arrested.

Starbucks’ CEO publicly apologized repeatedly following the arrests, which he called “reprehensible.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, will be among the help to design the program, as will executives from the Equal Justice Initiative and Demos, to roughly 175,000 Starbucks employees.

Continue Reading

Not Fake News

8 Facts About the Late, Great Barbara Bush

Published

on

Former first lady Barbara Bush died in Houston on Tuesday. She was 92 years old. The wife of former president George H.W. Bush, and mother of former president George W. Bush, had been battling congestive heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had recently decided not to seek any further treatment.

The matriarch of the Bush family was known for her bluntness and advocacy, but many young people know little about her. So, here are 8 straight up facts about the former first lady of the United States.

1. She was born Barbara Pierce in New York City on June 8, 1925.

2. She met met George H.W. Bush at a school dance in 1941, at the age of 16. After dating for a year and a half, the couple got engaged before he went off to World War II to serve as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot. When he returned on leave, she dropped out of Smith College in Northampton, Mass. and they got married two weeks later on Jan. 6, 1945, in Rye, N.Y.

3. Barbara gave birth to six children: George W. (in 1946), Pauline “Robin” (in 1949), Jeb (in 1953), Neil (in 1955), Marvin (in 1956), and Dorothy (in 1959). She lost her daughter “Robin” at the age of three to leukemia. 

4. She served as second lady of the United States when George H.W. Bush was vice president to Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989. 

5. She alarmed conservatives when she revealed she was pro-choice. 

6. Describing Geraldine Ferraro, her husband’s opponent for vice president in 1984, she said: “I can’t say it, but it rhymes with ‘rich.'”

7. She was first lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993.

8. She helped to develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which seeks to improve literacy in the U.S. through programs directed toward pre-school children and parental literacy while cementing her legacy. She spoke regularly on “Mrs. Bush’s Story Time,” a national radio program that stressed the significance of reading aloud to children. 

Political affiliation aside, the death of Barbara Bush is a reminder that class in Washington is dying, too.

Continue Reading

Not Fake News

Meghan Markle Fought Against a Sexist TV Ad When She Was 11 – and Won

Published

on

Meghan Markle has the world’s attention.

The American-born actress set to marry Prince Harry in May 2018 has a future of fulfilling philanthropic duties — and maybe even tea parties with the Queen every now and then — to look forward to.

A throwback video of an 11-year-old Markle on a 1993 episode of a Nickelodeon news show, however, proves the future royal was always fit to be a princess fighting for rights of the people.

When watching TV commercials with her classmates and assessing potentially implicit messages for a social studies project, Markle’s spirit for advocacy kicked in. She was disturbed how an ad for dishwashing detergent implied women do all the cleaning.

“I don’t think it’s right for kids to grow up thinking these things — that just Mom does everything,” a young Markle says in the video clip. “It’s always ‘Mom does this,’ and ‘Mom does that.’”

She went on to make a small impact by writing a letter to Proctor & Gamble, which resulted in the company changing the voice-over in the ad to declare “people” were battling to clean instead of women.

The 36-year-old now has a much bigger stage to speak from, which is great news in the fight for equality.

Continue Reading

Most Popular