Olympian Gus Kenworthy shared some of his worst hate mail and made a powerful point.

If you've ever wondered why gay people keep "shoving their sexuality down your throat" (which sounds a bit, uh, sexual in itself?), Olympian Gus Kenworthy has a tweet you might want to see.

Kenworthy, a skiier, is fresh off the games in Pyeongchang, where he and figure skating sensation Adam Rippon made history as some of the first openly gay members of Team USA's Olympic squad (Kenworthy won a silver medal during the 2014 Sochi games, but wasn't out as gay just yet).

Like a lot of Olympic athletes, Kenworthy posted a lot of photos to his social media accounts during his downtime — and yes, some mentioned that he was happy he could represent America as himself.  It was pretty sweet!


As one might expect, this led some people to ask him to tone it down, often employing the classic "nobody cares if you're gay" reason.

"There's really no need to ram it down everyone's throat at every opportunity," wrote one person on Twitter. Interestingly, none of the accounts chiding him for posting a photo with his boyfriend or cheering on Rippon had sent similar "nobody cares if you're straight" tweets to straight athletes posting about their significant others or family. It's almost if people do care that he's gay.

Images via Twitter.

On Feb. 27, he decided to share a few comments from his YouTube page that kind of put an end to the "homophobia doesn't exist anymore" narrative.

"Gross faggot. Fuck you. Go die of AIDS. Sodom and Gomorrah will return. Sick nasty pedo-fag," wrote a user going by the name of Robert Miller. "Gus you are nothing but a sperm drinking, ass fucking FAG — a fucking FREAK of nature, hurry and get AIDS," wrote a user going by Floyd Schott. Yikes!

Lest you think these were just isolated comments, a quick glance at his Twitter mentions proves otherwise.

Kenworthy earned the ire of a small legion of Donald Trump supporters when he tweeted a few jokes aimed at the administration:

"So proud of all these people!" he tweeted, sharing a photo of Team USA. "Everybody here has worked so hard to make it to the Olympics and have the opportunity to walk in the closing ceremony! Well ... Everyone except Ivanka. Honestly, tf is she doing here??"

After the Olympic Athletes from Russia took home the gold medal in men's hockey, he tweeted, "Russia's biggest win since the 2016 US Presidential election!"

When he broke his thumb practicing, he joked that it'd prevent him from shaking Mike Pence's hand, and that was a silver lining.

Some Trump supporters were upset by those comments, even though they were pretty tame. Several responded with anti-gay slurs. A closer look shows that the slurs — many of which called him mentally ill, wished death on him, hoped he would get AIDS, etc. — began long before he ever uttered a word about the administration.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images. Images via Twitter.

Still, it did spark a lot of outrage among Trump's supporters, and resulted in some unintentionally hilarious tweets. For example, one Twitter user came to the defense of the president's LGBTQ bonafides by saying Trump had the "most fag friendly policies from a president to ever enter the White House."

First of all, no, Donald Trump is not LGBTQ-friendly by any stretch of the imagination. His administration has argued that it should be legal to fire someone for being gay, he fired the entire White House HIV/AIDS council, and he's still in the process of trying to kick trans people out of the military. He is objectively bad on LGBTQ issues, and you can hardly blame Kenworthy or anyone else for being a little salty about it.

Image via Twitter.

Beyond that, though, the comment really highlights the lengths people will go to convince themselves that homophobia is a thing of the past, and that LGBTQ people are the oppressors forcing their views on others. The truth is, as long as being able to live one's life, to post a photo on social media kissing your boyfriend, or even just to mention that you're gay, or bi, or trans without getting a boatload of hate in response, the "Nobody cares if you're gay" comments are just flat-out wrong.

It would be great if "nobody cared" about someone else's sexual orientation or gender identity, but the truth is that these issues still matter a whole lot. It took until 2018 that a U.S. Olympic athlete felt safe and comfortable enough to be open about who they are. That is worth celebrating, and people do care. Because they care, it's important that people like Kenworthy continue to stand up and make themselves heard.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less