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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!

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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