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Gus Kenworthy: What Pride Means To Me

Gus Kenworthy: What Pride Means To Me

Gus Kenworthy What Pride Means to Me PRIDE OUT LOUD H&M
Photography: Eric White

The power of authenticity and being your best self.

I figured out I was gay at about the age of five. If I was watching a movie, I was always fixating on the male lead and not the female lead. When I was in high school I realized, Oh, I'm actually really into guys and want to hook up with them, but that was not an option at all.


Photography by Eric White

I grew up in Telluride, Colo., the kind of town where if something happens in your family, or you hook up with someone, everyone knows before you do. It's a very liberal town--forward-thinking and accepting--but I was way too scared to come out because there were hardly any gay people, and certainly no one I knew. I'd also just turned pro in skiing, and I was traveling, so there were girls at events, and they'd get pushed on you, and it was hard to circumnavigate that.

My first pride was in NYC in 2016 the summer after I came out. My boyfriend and some friends and I got brunch and watched the parade from the West Village. It was amazing to me to see how huge the magnitude of the parade was and to see so much diversity and love. It seemed like the entire world had shown up to support the LGBTQ community. It was incredible.


Photography by Eric White

I think if there is an icon who inspires me it's probably Ru Paul. Drag Race has opened my eyes to so many parts of the LGBTQ community that I might not have had an understanding, appreciation or love for otherwise. Growing up my greatest role model was a skier named TJ Schiller. I think I actually just had a crush on him, but was too scared to admit it but either way I love the way he skis and his contest runs influenced the way I thought about my own skiing and shaped me into the athlete that I am.


Photography by Eric White

My own advice to athletes is to have fun. It's only worth pursuing sports, or anything for that matter, if you're enjoying it. I'd tell them to work hard, to persevere in the face of difficulty, to dig deep and press on to be the best athlete they can be. My advice isn't different for a straight athlete versus a gay one but for any LGBTQ person I would want them to know that getting to live and compete honestly and authentically as their true self is only going enhance their experience and performance.

Video by Paul Bui

Although winning the silver medal in the Sochi Olympics in 2014 was one of the biggest accomplishments in my career, and opened many doors to me, it wasn't until 2016--my first season after coming out publicly--that I won a medal in every freeski discipline at the X Games: slopestyle, big air and superpipe. I truly believe I was performing as well as I was because of the weight that was finally off of my shoulders.

That lightness, that strength, is what Pride means to me.

Shop the Pride Collection at H&M.

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Gus Kenworthy