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After going home for her dad's funeral, this trans woman did something amazing: She met her brother.

Lots of people avoid returning to their hometown. She had a bigger reason than most.

After going home for her dad's funeral, this trans woman did something amazing: She met her brother.

When her father passed away, Kimberly Reed had a dilemma.

Going home for her father's funeral meant seeing her brother, Mark, who she hadn't spoken to for many years.


Mark didn't know why it had been so long. And their mother kept making excuses.

The reason was that the last time Kimberly saw Mark, Kimberly was known as Paul. And Mark didn't know she had transitioned.

Mark didn't know he had a sister.

Needless to say, when Kimberly saw her brother for the first time...

But as many families do in difficult times, they fell back on tradition.

Mark was in shock. But after they talked and talked and talked, Mark embraced Kimberly, and a huge burden was lifted. Still, there was more to come.

Kimberly had to return to her hometown for the funeral.

Everyone she grew up with still knew her as Paul — including all her old buddies from the football team. And Kimberly wasn't just on the football team in high school...

She didn't know what to expect.

And it's not fair for me to spoil it, so you should just listen her tell the story. The football team arrives about 11 minutes in, and it's ... glorious.

If you're a young person who is trans and struggling, or if you're questioning your gender identity, Kimberly is living, breathing proof that it can and does get better. People grow up, families change, and life can be really great.

If you know someone who is struggling, please share Kimberly's story with them. And if you're considering suicide or know someone who is, please call the Trevor Project Lifeline at (866) 488-7386. And here are some important resources that can help. You're not alone.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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