A gay couple's pride flag helped give a young teen the courage to come out to their family.

One of the questions that LGBT people get most often during Pride month is why we need to be so visible all the time — especially in June, when you can't turn a corner without running into a rainbow-themed display at Target. While there are many reasons — check some out right here — one of the biggest reasons visibility is important is that it's letting future generations know that it's okay to be who you are. That there will always be people who support you.

In Round Rock, Texas, that visibility helped change the trajectory of one person's life. And it all has to do with the rainbow flag a couple flies outside their home every day.

Sal Stow, who lives at the home in question with her partner, Meghan Stabler, was just out picking up the mail when she noticed that there was a handwritten note held down by a rock among the letters and packages. She didn't know what to expect — sometimes those things are just pizza delivery menus — but when she took a closer look, the sentiment brought her near tears.

"Hello, you don't know me," the note began. "We've moving away today, but I wanted to thank you. Seeing a Pride flag waving so proudly outside your house every day has given me the courage to come out to my family and be comfortable with who I am." The note-writer had also drawn a self-portrait. In it, they look healthy and content while waving the transgender and pansexual pride flags.

On Twitter and Facebook, the note's been shared thousands of times.


The message here is crystal clear: When we're open about who we are and live our lives free of fear and shame (to the extent which society allows), we're also inspiring others to live out loud. And for those who are struggling with being open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, the tiniest symbols of love and acceptance are a reminder that the world can be a good, supportive place. Sometimes, no words need to be exchanged.

Sure, many of us yearn for a world in which no one has to come out because it's no longer frightening or dangerous, but while Americans have made great strides forward in furthering LGBT+ rights, coming out is anxiety-provoking. Especially when the threats of family rejection and homelessness are still all too real. For many teens, there's a fear that their friends and families will turn on them due to their sexual orientation — even if their loved ones endorsed support for the LGBT+ community before.

In a town like Round Rock, where, Stow writes, the residents are primarily conservative and the local government unanimously struck down a motion to fly a Pride flag at the courthouse, this type of visibility has even more of an impact.

"I am proud of who I am and the person I love. I will continue to be visible in whatever way I can," Stow vowed on Facebook. Maybe it's time we all picked up a rainbow flag to hang near our doors to show pride in ourselves and be an ally for others? Just an idea!

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

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'Merry Christmas' on YouTube.

The world must have been—mostly—good this year. Because Elton John and Ed Sheeran have teamed up to gift us all with a brand new Christmas single.

The song, aptly named “Merry Christmas,” is a perfect blend of silly and sweet that’s cheery, bright and just a touch bizarre.

Created with the holiday spirit in every way, it has whimsical snowball fights, snow angels (basically all the snow things), festive sweaters, iconic throwbacks and twinkling lights galore. Plus all profits from the tune are dedicated to two charities: the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

I personally don’t know which is more of a highlight: Ed Sheeran channeling his inner-Mariah, performing a faux sexy dance in a leg revealing Santa outfit, or him flying through the air with a giant Frosty the Snowman … who seems to be sporting glasses similar to Elton’s. Are we meant to believe that Elton is the Snowman? This music video even has mystery.
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