Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy made headlines when he came out publicly as gay last month, but one of his fellow skiers says it was a selfish act. Here is what Alex Schlopy posted on his Instagram account last week:
I've been waiting a minute to try and word this properly. I've been boys with @guskenworthy since we were very young. So... Here it is- I'm very proud of you for coming out and being you, it must be a huge weight off your shoulders my dude. Not gonna lie, we all knew... Kind of haha. Doesn't matter. You're my boy either way. However, I do not like how you used your coming out to build yourself up even more. I know it must have been tough and we all fight our own battles... Hopefully you use this to do something good for the sport and other people. That being said you're a fucking nasty shredder and I have mad respect for you- gay or not. Shred life and support to the LGBT community. Love you my dude
The remarks caused a stir and Schlopy then posted this:
I stand by my last post and I know there was a lot of controversy. I have mad respect and love for this man. I'm beyond happy that you can finally be you and here's us celebrating after one of the nastiest tricks I've seen... 810 lead blunt pretz 2...? Gangster. Ski community is family! #throwback
Kenworthy responded in an interview in Attitude magazine:
You know, I get a lot of message from people saying ‘This is ridiculous, I don’t have a magazine cover for being straight’, and I’m like ‘No shit!’ It’s expected that if you’re in sports; you’re straight. And [Schlopy's comments] really bummed me out because that’s someone I’ve known for a number of years, and someone I compete against, and if he did feel these things, I felt like voicing it on a public forum like Instagram is just a little bit rude. I’d rather he’d just reached out to me.
The original caption [on Schlopy's post] said ‘I’ve got friends that are gay and friends that are drug addicts, and they don’t have magazine covers,’ and I was really upset by the fact he compared being gay to being a drug addict. And of course doing the [ESPN] cover was for me in a lot of ways, but it was also for all the kids who’ve reached out to me since with their story, who’ve messaged me and said ‘because of the article I came out to my mom’, and I feel like if my article helps one kid or saves one kid’s life, that’s a win. If certain people don’t see that then that’s fine with me.
Schlopy's view that coming out publicly is a selfish act (let alone comparing it to being a drug addict) shows he has no idea what gay people go through. Schlopy never had to come out as straight. It was simply assumed and accepted and he never had to spend countless nights in loneliness and fear that his secret would be discovered and he might not be accepted in the sport he loves.
Kenworthy has inspired many people in the short time he has been out, people who are stoked that a champion skier can be openly gay. This story by the head of an LGBT ski and snowboard group explains it very well. People like Schlopy show their ignorance when a gay person comes out in sports -- "why don't straight people get a cover story"? "Why do you have to tell us you're gay"? and such similar nonsense.
Until Kenworthy came out, LGBT skiers could point to no one at the elite level of their sport who was like them in some way. Almost every athlete we've profile on Outsports has inspired someone and it's easily the most satisfaction they get out of telling their story.
I hope Kenworthy continues to get a ton of publicity for finally being true to himself and inspiring others. If that bothers Schlopy, too damn bad.