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24 Songs That Sound Different When You Know The Reality Behind The People Who Sang Them

Go ahead and start this playlist for the effect of the story below.

24 Songs That Sound Different When You Know The Reality Behind The People Who Sang Them

If you come to my house on a Saturday morning, you'll probably catch me with earbuds in, vacuuming and dancing in my underwear while singing any one of the songs above. It's not pretty, but it's true.

As a young gay boy, it was hard for me to relate to love songs. I mean, I liked music growing up. Plus, there was never a dry eye in the room when I belted "On My Own" from "Les Miserables" (and by "room," I mean my New Kids on the Block/'80s posters staring at me from the walls of my actual room), but I never really understood the hype behind what the musicians were trying to get at. I just liked their passion.


(These are all examples of the posters hanging in my room. I still swoon a little bit over NKOTB. Hey, Danny, Donnie, Joey, Jonathan, and Jordan ... you hearing me out there?)

I connected with the music, but the words were harder for me to hear. Men were singing about women, and women were singing about men, and that's totally "normal" and beyond OK. It's just that I never related to it, and I suspect many gay people experienced the same thing. So I performed my little pre-gay heart out with fervor. (It's important to note that I did not know I was gay yet. Go ahead, I can handle your disbelieving eye rolls.)

By my early 20s, I had full understanding of my inner gay. While spending a Friday night watching a gender-bending drag show at my local gay bar, I had a realization I want to share with you. The performer was a female dressed as a male (that's called a drag king), and he was singing "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton. It was the first time in my life that I'd actually felt the words to a song. So there I sat in a smoky gay bar in western North Carolina bawling uncontrollably. (It's important to note that you've not lived until you've had a room full of bears from the mountains of N.C. console you.)

For the first time, I could not only hear what love in songs sounded like, I could experience what it felt like. It changed my life.

Here's a playlist of 24 LGBTQ singers and their songs (plus I threw in Patron Saint Dolly even though she's not gay because Dolly). Maybe listen closely to the words and hear what message the performer is conveying from their perspective as a gay recording artist. If nothing else, I want you to shake your groove thang while listening to these, then share them with a friend or two so you all can have a virtual dance party!

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

A young boy tried to grab the Pope's skull cap

A boy of about 10-years-old with a mental disability stole the show at Pope Francis' weekly general audience on Wednesday at the Vatican auditorium. In front of an audience of thousands the boy walked past security and onto the stage while priests delivered prayers and introductory speeches.

The boy, later identified as Paolo, Jr., greeted the pope by shaking his hand and when it was clear that he had no intention of leaving, the pontiff asked Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, the head of protocol, to let the boy borrow his chair.

The boy's activity on the stage was clearly a breach of Vatican protocol but Pope Francis didn't seem to be bothered one bit. He looked at the child with a sense of joy and wasn't even disturbed when he repeatedly motioned that he wanted to remove his skull cap.

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