Arnold Schwarzenegger says his parents abused him because they thought he was gay.
Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images.

Arnold Schwarzenegger may be one of the most famous people alive today. But as a child, the sport that vaulted him to fortune and glory was often the target of homophobia.

In his autobiography “Total Recall,” Schwarzenegger shared a story of how he was physically and emotionally abused by his parents who falsely assumed that he was gay because he covered his walls with pictures of male body builders.

Of course, Arnold would go on to become the sport’s most famous name ever before becoming even more famous as an action film star, and eventually, a politician.


But that’s not the point.

The point is he grew up in a time where it was considered normal for his parents to abuse him over the thing he loved because they were taught that being gay was somehow bad. In a later interview on the topic, Arnold went into more details. He told “60 Minutes” that his father used to hit him:

"He ran after me with a belt and beat me,” Schwarzenegger said. He added that his mother called their family doctor saying there was “something off” about their son and his interest in the male physique.

"I don't know if mum thought I was gay, or if she just thought there was something off. And 'let's catch it early,'" he said.

"She asked the doctor, 'Can you help me? I don't know if there's something wrong with my son because his wall is full of naked men. All of Arnold's friends have pictures of girls above their bed. And Arnold has no girls.'"

Schwarzenegger has been a long time supporter of LGBTQ rights, championing the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling and even famously shutting down a fan who made homophobic comments on his Facebook page back in 2015.

He hasn’t said if his own progressive views on sexuality were impacted by the abuse he suffered as a child but it’s clear Arnold is a complex person and someone who has once again become a largely beloved figure after his mixed tenure as governor of California and the subsequent revelation that he fathered a child outside his marriage.

Arnold isn’t perfect. But by opening up about his own vulnerabilities, he’s setting a perfect example for other men on the importance of avoiding toxic masculinity, homophobia and behaviors that ultimately only harm others and the individual who practices them.

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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