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

Reuters

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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

Better than the Weekend Actually Got Nominated for Something

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Well, two things, actually.

And this shit got me in my feelings.

When I found out Better than the Weekend was nominated for two Steamtown Music Awards, I was just happy to be invited to a work affair happening at a bar. The annual event celebrates the talent and hard work of regional musicians and entertainment industry professionals set in Northeastern Pennsylvania — and BTTW is nominated for Publication/Blog of the Year and Journalist of the Year. (Directions on how to vote at the end of the article.)

As the founder of an online publication still in its early development, getting recognized by the community and being in the company of publications that have been around in our HQ city for as long as 25 years is pretty rad and a solid win on its own.

When I launched BTTW in the summer of 2016, I wanted to create an online community of people who want an escape from the negative bullshit in their lives and need help getting through the week. And the way that community continues to grow is by focusing on sharing stories about who people really are outside of their IG feed and how they live their lives. Because understanding each other and finding common interests and values is how we connect and feel less alone in the world.

There was the time I spoke to a white college-educated liberal who wanted Donald Trump to be the next president. The Associated Press even circulated that story.

Then there was the time I visited a sleepaway camp for grownups. That might be the greatest place to unplug and make great new friends. Ever.

There was also the time BTTW hosted and moderated Scranton’s first-ever live streamed political debate with candidates running for public office or the time we threw an epic election party.

All the while, musicians from Northeastern PA have been part of that story, whether it was with a live performance at our office or a BTTW hangout —

Live entertainment at the HQ for Scranton’s First Friday with Mike Baresse

Posted by Better than the Weekend on Friday, April 6, 2018

 

— or having discussions with musicians beyond their music; deep from the soul. This is SMA nominee Jami Kali posing for ‘Dreams, Exposed,’ photographed by nominee Lisa Petz. 

To vote Better than the Weekend for Publication of the Year and me (Justin Adam Brown) for Journalist of the Year, click this link to be directed to the event’s Facebook page. Scroll down to the Recent Posts and you’ll find the categories and be able to vote.

If you’re from Northeastern PA, vote for your favorites. If you’re not, vote for everyone!

Win or lose, I’m just happy BTTW is capturing your attention.

I’ll be at the event Thursday, Sept. 13 at The V Spot in Scranton rooting on all the nominees and celebrating their hard work. Hope you’ll make it, too.

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Dickhead Jogger Arrested for Throwing Homeless Man’s Belongings in Lake

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A video went viral of a jogger taking time out of his day to throw a homeless man’s belongings into a lake. The jogger has since been identified as 31-year-old Henry William Sintay by The Mercury News and was arrested. He’s currently being held on $100,000 bail.

The dickhead move made by the dickhead jogger happened by Meritt Lake in Oakland, California, on Friday, June 8. A witness named JJ Harris filmed the incident as a woman tried to stop the dickhead jogger. This video is messed up on so many levels — and not only because his thicc dad bod doesn’t suggest he has time to stop mid-jog to try to end homelessness.

Watch this:

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

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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.

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