This is Olympian Adam Rippon — a self-proclaimed "glamazon bitch" and aspiring "America's sweetheart."

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images.

He's the first openly gay American man to qualify for the winter games. So — on top of his bronze-winning performance and viral one-liners — the historic nature of his qualifying has put an extra-bright spotlight on his stay in South Korea.


Also, he's not a fan of Vice President Mike Pence.

Pence was chosen by the White House to lead the U.S. delegation at the games. Rippon — noting the vice president's support for anti-LGBTQ public policies — wasn't on-board. "You mean Mike Pence — the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” the 28-year-old quipped to USA Today in January. “I’m not buying it.”

Many people have applauded Rippon's openly queer presence at the games and his candidness when it comes to politics. Donald Trump Jr. hasn't been one of them.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

After Rippon told reporters in South Korea he doesn't "want [his] Olympic experience being about Mike Pence," the president's son went on the offensive.

"Really?" Trump Jr. tweeted. "Then perhaps you shouldn't have spent the past few weeks talking about him. I haven't heard him mention you once???"

Clearly, Trump Jr. hadn't Googled before tweeting, because his remark isn't all that accurate. In interviews in South Korea, Rippon has largely focused on the games and his performances, only mentioning Pence when asked about the vice president directly by reporters.

At the same time, Pence certainly has mentioned Rippon.  

Pence has helped fuel the perception of an ongoing feud between the vice president and Olympian.

Rippon's remarks blasting Pence's past support for gay conversion therapy seems to have gotten under the V.P.'s skin. His press secretary Alyssa Farah responded to the accusations by Rippon as "totally false," with "no basis in fact."

But — again, for the millionth time — that's not the case.

As The New York times reported in 2016, Pence's congressional campaign website from 2000 clearly stated his support for the dangerous practice. It read: "Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior."

That didn't stop the vice president from brushing off Rippon's accusations and deeming the story "fake news." "[Rippon], I want you to know we are FOR YOU," the vice president tweeted on Feb. 7. "Don’t let fake news distract you."

Pence also reportedly went through the extraordinary step to set up a meeting with Rippon as well, but the Olympian — much to fanfare of LGBTQ advocates everywhere — declined the offer. (Pence's office denied the vice president attempted to arrange a face-to-face, but Rippon's agent said the reports claiming otherwise were "100% true.")

If Pence wanted this story to die in January, he's certainly done a terrible job extinguishing the flames.

In the wake of Trump Jr.'s tweet, actor Ike Barinholtz called out the president's son for causing a distraction.

"Nothing more patriotic than taunting a U.S. Olympic athlete during the Olympics," he wrote on Twitter.

Rippon replied to Barinholtz with a lighthearted quip: "The tea is exceptionally good today."

Go get 'em, Adam.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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