Gus Kenworthy makes an important point with a heartbreaking tweet
Updated: February 28, 2018 at 11:58 am
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Queer people are constantly being told to stop overreacting to society’s rampant homophobia. After all, we have marriage equality (sort of), what more could we want?
Meanwhile, ask any gay or bisexual person if the world feels fully embracing of them and you will get a resounding, “Uh…no.”
Olympic medalist Gus Kenworthy summed up the experience of being told that homophobia is still alive and well in 2018 when we all know full well that it is with a tweet highlighting some of the hate that comes his way as a high profile gay man.
Kenworthy shared some comments he has received on his YouTube videos, and they are full of anti-gay slurs and people telling him to die.
He contrasted the comments with “Them” saying, “It’s 2018 nobody cares that you’re gay. Homophobia doesn’t exist anymore. Get over yourself.” He then showed a small example of just how rabidly anti-gay the world can still be, yes, even in 2018.
Them: It's 2018 nobody cares that you're gay. Homophobia doesn't exist anymore. Get over yourself.
My YouTube notifications: pic.twitter.com/moASu15TR4
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 27, 2018
Kenworthy came out in 2015. He said ahead of the Games in South Korea that competing in his first Olympics since coming out was going to make the Games that much sweeter. He won a silver in Russia in 2014.
YouTube tweeted out an apology to Kenworthy, noting that it is working on doing a better job at keeping out these types of abusive comments.
This is unacceptable, we’re so sorry these comments and notifications came through to you. We’re actively working to fix this so you won't see or be notified of abusive comments and exploring more ways to protect people from abusive comments overall.
— Team YouTube (@TeamYouTube) February 28, 2018
Kenworthy thanked YouTube, and suggested better filtering, and noted that, while he’s “confident enough to brush it off…a younger me would have had a harder time.
Thank you YouTube! Maybe consider filtering out keywords and phrases like "faggot" and "kill yourself" so that they just never show up in anyone's comments? I'm confident enough to brush it off but a younger me would have had a harder time. https://t.co/9Iugwoev1q
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 28, 2018
LGB youth are nearly five times more likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual counterparts, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
YouTube wasn’t the only one who apologized to Kenworthy for having to be exposed to hateful comments. Chelsea Clinton also sent a tweet his way. She also thanked him for representing the USA well, “on and off skis.”
I am so sorry Gus you are dealing with this. All those vile comments reflect on the people making them, not you. Thank you for always representing #TeamUSA so well, on and off skis.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) February 28, 2018
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About the author: Jeff Taylor is a journalist, artist and social media editor. In addition to QNotes, his work has appeared in publications such The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing Charlotte, LGBTQ Nation and The Pride L.A. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport and has lived in Charlotte since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @jefftaylorhuman.