I used to have respect for OUT magazine and its coverage of LGBT issues, but this morning I had my fill of them. As I was scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed, I noticed one of their newest posts featuring Olympic superstars Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon sharing a sweet kiss. The headline, however, was anything but sweet: “The First Openly Gay Olympians Share A Kiss In Defiance Of The Vice President”.
Gay Olympians? Love it! Defiance of Mike Pence? Love it even more! First Openly Gay Olympians? Not by a long shot. This sort of revisionist history trampled on so many brave LGBT athletes of years prior, that I felt it was worth my time to respond with a comment:
“I appreciate your highlighting of a worthy story here, but these are most certainly not the first openly gay Olympic athletes. Via the Smithsonian: “At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, 11 openly gay athletes competed, only one of whom – Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, who won gold and is a vocal LGBT activist – was a man. All six openly gay athletes at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver were women, as were all seven of the openly gay athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Both of the intervening Summer Olympics saw a greater turnout of openly gay athletes, but women still held the large majority. In 2016, four of the players on the U.S. women’s basketball team – Delle Donne, Brittney Griner, Seimone Augustus and Angel McCoughtry––were openly gay.” Not only that, but earlier this morning Canadian skater Eric Radford became the first openly gay to win gold at a Winter Olympics and there is no mention of him on your newsfeed. What do I see instead? An article about Adam Rippon’s disappointment in the Olympics’ generic condoms. Your team really needs to pull up its socks. No medal for Out Magazine this time around — you didn’t even make the team.”
Within seconds my comment was marked as spam. My second attempt? Same result. After my third spam notification I lost my patience. If OUT magazine wants to be a class act in covering LGBT heroes, rights, and history, it has to at least try to make an attempt with the easy stuff. If OUT‘s coverage of LGBT history continues to highlight only gay American Instagram stars, they will continue to prove why their reporting is doing more harm than good with its disservice to LGBT history. In a fitting moment of sweet irony, however, the caption from their Adam Rippon condom story is perfectly appropriate here: “Missed opportunity.”
UPDATE: OUT just posted about Eric Radford’s gold medal (better late than never).