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Simone Biles’ passionate defense of LGBTQ people shows what being an ally is all about

Biles unapologetically stood with the LGBTQ community after a conservative group had attacked her Uber Eats ad that features “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness wearing a leotard.

Gymnastics: U.S. Gymnastics Championships
Simone Biles issued a strong statement of support for the LGBTQ community after a conservative Christian group had criticized her Uber Eats ad with Jonathan Van Ness.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Simone Biles is doing more than just standing with the LGBTQ community. The Olympic gold medalist is affirming her support in concrete and unapologetic terms.

We appreciate it.

A conservative Christian group, “One Million Moms,” recently started a petition to express its displeasure with a recent ad for Uber Eats that stars Biles and “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness. In it, Biles and Van Ness, who identifies as nonbinary and uses he/him pronouns, are wearing matching leotards.

“Instead of making audiences lose their appetite by glamorizing a LGBTQ lifestyle, Uber Eats should focus on what it does and remain neutral on controversial issues,” the petition reads.

In response, Biles offered her unconditional support to the LGBTQ community, and vowed to make even more commercials that stoke the ire of “One Million Moms.”

“The world we live in makes me sad, but I’d do x1000000 more commercials with you just to piss everyone off!,” she tweeted last week. “The LGBTQIA will always have my support and feel welcome on my socials.”

What’s most notable about Biles’ rebuttal is her non-conciliatory tone. If you have a problem with gender fluidity, then she has no time for you.

It’s becoming increasingly common for high-profile athletes to express unabashed support for LGBTQ people — even in the high-testosterone world of male team sports. Last month, numerous NFL stars, including Rob Gronkowski, appeared in a National Coming Out Day video.

Three academic researchers recently published a study of Outsports stories that affirms male athletes are widely accepting of gay teammates.

As one the most well-known athletes in the U.S., Biles’ words carry weight. It is especially noteworthy she’s supporting nonbinary identities. About one-in-four Americans say forms should include more than two gender options, according to Pew Research.

A revered Olympian like Biles appearing in a commercial with Van Ness, and then vehemently defending his right to wear a leotard, can help increase that figure.

Strong allies mean a lot for normalization. Biles leaves no mystery about where she stands, antiquated gender norms be damned.