Antarctica is the 'world's first LGBT-friendly continent,' and this penguin is pleased.

Yes, gay penguins are, in fact, a thing.

For example, this furry little guy standing tall next to a rainbow flag is totally on board the equality train for his queer bird brothers and sisters:


The group Planting Peace snapped this pic while trekking across Antarctica on a pretty worthwhile adventure. All photos courtesy of Planting Peace, used with permission.

A group called Planting Peace recently visited Antarctica in order to proclaim it the "world's first LGBT-friendly continent."

(Your move, rest of the world.)

Of course, that title is largely symbolic — but that doesn't mean the point Planting Peace is trying to make isn't a very real one.

The group's goal is to remind us that in many parts of the world, LGBT rights are nonexistent — despite the fact the UN Human Rights Council clearly specifies LGBT people as deserving of the same rights and protections as straight, cisgender folks.

Yeah, we've come a (very) long way in the U.S. But it's still illegal to be gay in dozens of countries throughout the world, as Planting Peace pointed out on its blog.

"Let this declaration serve as a catalyst to create the momentum needed to bring LGBT rights to every continent in the world," the group wrote. "Visibility and advocacy for the rights of sexual minorities is desperately needed."

If the name Planting Peace rings a bell, it's because this isn't the first time the group has made waves online.

Most notably, the nonprofit — which focuses on humanitarian and environmental initiatives to keep "spreading peace in a hurting world" — created the Equality House adjacent to the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas in order to counter the "church's" hateful, homophobic messaging.


Or maybe you remember when Gandalf and Dumbledore tied the knot in celebration of queer love (a move that was praised by J.K. Rowling)? Yep, Planting Peace was behind that too.

Or maybe you recall that amazing billboard that pointed out the big flaw in now-infamous homophobe Kim Davis' argument against marriage equality?

All Planting Peace's fine work.

Combating discrimination is a serious job.

But Planting Peace is an example of how you can take the not-so-serious route in helping to change hearts, minds, and laws, too.

One penguin at a time.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.