A student asked a straight teacher why he wore a rainbow shirt. His answer was perfect.

Leland Schipper's students wondered why he wore a rainbow shirt since it might make some people think he's gay.

He teaches high school math, but like most educators, Leland Schipper teaches other lessons too. An exchange with two students over a shirt Schipper wore is a perfect example.

Schipper shared the story on his Facebook page along with a photo of himself in a t-shirt bearing a rainbow-filled outline of the state of Iowa, where he teaches.


"Student 1: Mr. Schipper, I thought you were straight.

Me: I am.

Student 1: Then why are you wearing that shirt?

Student 2: It’s because his wifey is pretty, so he can do what he wants. Schipper don’t care...

Student 1: Yeah, but what if they’ve never seen pictures of his wife. They would think you’re gay.

Me: They might...so what?"

Student 1: Mr. Schipper, I thought you were straight.Me: I am.Student 1: Then why are you wearing that...

Posted by Leland Michael on Friday, April 19, 2019

Schipper went on to explain why he felt it was important to show his students that he was not embarrassed or threatened by people thinking he's gay.

"I’m convinced the root of unhealthy masculinity is homophobia, and that becomes entrenched in middle and early high school years. Homophobia only ends if straight allies model to young kids, boys in particular, that being called gay isn’t an inherently negative thing and doesn’t require a defensive response. It’s difficult to do, but if we take the homophobia out of schools, we not only improve the lives of LGTBQ+ youth, but all kids who fear being labeled as gay by their peers."

One commenter tried to bring in Bible verses, and Schipper responded beautifully.

A commenter tried to get religious with Schipper, writing, "It would be more inspirational if you taught them 1 Timothy 3-11!" This Bible verse has to do with wives being respected and exercising self-control and faithfulness. Strange comeback, but okay.

Leland had a brilliant response, though, which could also be applicable to anyone who tries to quote Bible verses in defense of discrimination:

"I also don’t inspire them with Timothy 2:9 when they show up with braided hair, and I don’t whip out Leviticus 19:19 when they wear polyester shirts to my class. I don’t believe in cherry picking sins from the Bible and shaming others with them, especially children. Instead my faith inspires me to make sure all kids feel safe and protected in my classroom. Biblically, Romans 2:1, means I do my best not to judge others, and instead love them as Jesus would—no matter what."

Welp, there you go.

Most comments were supportive, and many exemplified why this kind of allyship is needed.

Schipper's post has been shared 31,000 times, and has more than 2,000 comments. More than a few of those commenters shared what this post meant to them personally.

One commenter wrote, "As someone who got bullied a lot in Middle School for what the other kids perceived to be my sexual orientation (I wasn’t out at the time, but turns out they were right) I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You just may be saving some kid from going through the same Hell that I experienced those three long years."

Another wrote, "You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman. It warms my cold, scarred heart to see an ally that is bold, brave, and bright enough to educate, as well as _educate_, the leaders of tomorrow. Thank you, sir, for helping to foster an environment unlike the one I grew up in, so today's youth might live a life unlike the one I have."

"I got shamed by students and other teachers in school for being “the feminine” gay," wrote another. "So, I thank you for your open discussion and thought provoking process among straight allies."

One commenter said he had gotten his face smashed in when he was young in the 90s because he refused to publicly state whether he was gay or straight. Like Schipper, he was straight, but he was willing to take some heat in order to not satisfy people's prejudices. "Not looking for a pity party," he wrote, "just saying, don't let nostalgia fool any of of you...not one minute of human history is better than this one...and the next one will be better too. Good on you dude. More of this."

Indeed, good on you, Mr. Schipper. More of this, please.

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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

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These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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