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The Internet lost it (in a good way) after this Olympian came out as gay.

If you don't know who Gus Kenworthy is, you should.

The Internet lost it (in a good way) after this Olympian came out as gay.

On Oct. 22, 2015, Gus Kenworthy publicly came out as gay.

The 24-year-old opened up about his sexuality to ESPN, which included his story in its Being Out Issue, on newsstands Oct. 30, 2015.


In case you need reminding, Kenworthy is the American freestyle skier who won a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia...

Photo by Antonin Thuillier/AFP/Getty Images.

...and then became extra famous for rescuing five stray dogs while he was there.

Driving to the beach with @robindmacdonald and @thesochipups!
A photo posted by gus kenworthy (@guskenworthy) on
At long last, I've found them! Today is a happy day :) #puppies #sochistrays #howdoibringthemhome
A photo posted by gus kenworthy (@guskenworthy) on

The pups got a lot of attention upon returning to the U.S., too, as evidenced by their popular (and ridiculously adorable) Instagram account.

After the ESPN story was published online this week, the Internet's crush on Kenworthy got about 10x stronger.

A lot of people had a lot of really supportive things to say about his announcement.

Like, for instance, Miley Cyrus, who mentioned that Kenworthy might lend a helping hand in supporting her advocacy work for homeless LGBTQ youth...

My hero @guskenworthy @happyhippiefdn
A photo posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on

And retired NBA star Jason Collins, who certainly knows what it feels like to come out of the closet with the whole world watching...


And even the official Team USA, which couldn't be prouder to call him their own.


But while support for Kenworthy went viral, it was also tough to hear about the struggles he'd faced before coming out publicly.

Even though Kenworthy began coming out to loving, close friends and supportive family members a couple years ago, coming out to everyone — especially as a champion in the world of action sports — was a much more difficult feat to complete.

Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.

"I was insecure and ashamed," he told ESPN. "Unless you're gay, being gay has never been looked at as being cool. And I wanted to be cool."

Attracting an onslaught of female attention due to his fame as a skier — something many guys wouldn't, you know, mind having — actually became a source of pain and confusion for him as well.

"I know hooking up with hot girls doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world. But I literally would sleep with a girl and then cry about it afterward. I'm like, 'What am I doing? I don't know what I'm doing.'" — Gus Kenworthy

The Olympian said living in the closet resulted in an ongoing battle with depression and struggles with anxiety. At one point, he was suicidal.

Kenworthy's story serves as a good reminder that although we've come a very long way in LGBTQ acceptance, coming out can still be (and in many cases is) an excruciatingly difficult process — especially in the world of sports.

The good news is that Kenworthy has been "truly blown away" by the amount of love sent his way this week.

Watching his story go public was an understandably emotional experience...

...but reactions from fans (and his mom) have been very appreciated.

Now Kenworthy seems ready to start living his best, most honest life.


He says he hopes his authenticity will be another step forward in making the coming out process a little bit easier — and not-so-newsworthy — for others down the road.

A lot can be learned from the Olympian's story. But Kenworthy said it best by quoting one of the greats.

True

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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