Olympics figure skating medallist and new gay icon, Adam Rippon, has delivered an emotional award acceptance speech.
Rippon received the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Visibility Award at the 2018 HRC Los Angeles Dinner on Saturday (10 March).
Fellow out Winter Olympian, Gus Kenworthy, introduced Rippon at the ceremony.
Rippon was the first openly gay man to compete for the US at the Olympics. He also publicly sparred with Vice President Mike Pence bringing a new focus on Pence’s long anti-LGBTQ record.
Rippon delivered a moving acceptance speech about how he came to terms with his sexuality.
‘I was afraid that I wouldn’t be welcomed by the LGBTQ community because someone like me wouldn’t be the role model they were looking for,’ he said in his speech.
‘Maybe I was too gay, maybe I was just too myself.’
The 28-year-old said he had spent a lot of his life depressed and unafraid. When he made the choice to be ‘unafraid’ and truly be himself he learned what the true meaning of champion was.
He also had a message for young people whatever their race, whether they are LGBTI or on ‘their own journey of self-discovery’.
‘You hold more strength than you may ever know. You are powerful,’ he said.
‘No matter where you have come from or where you are going to, there is someone who looks up to you and they will find inspiration in your strength of just being yourself.’
‘Adam Rippon — fierce’
The HRC Los Angeles Dinner brought together more than 1,000 of HRC’s most active members and supporters in the greater Los Angeles area to raise crucial funds in the fight for LGBTQ equality. Other speakers on the night included Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema and Representative Maxine Waters.
‘One word best describes Adam Rippon — fierce,’ said HRC President Chad Griffin.
‘By being out and proud, Adam is bringing LGBTQ visibility to a whole new level while capturing the hearts of millions around the world with his incredible talent and personality.
‘He isn’t afraid to use his global platform to speak out for equality.’