He might have quit dancing if it wasn't for the support of his 2 dads.

A brave boy pushes the gender norms by opting for ballet over football, and his parents couldn't be happier.

He might have quit dancing if it wasn't for the support of his 2 dads.
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Robert and Thomas always knew that their son James liked to jump and move.

But they didn't focus on it until friends pointed out his dancing skills at a wedding. Soon after, the family went to see "The Nutcracker," and that's when James made a decision.

"At intermission he said, 'I want to do that,'" explained one of his dads, in a piece called "The Boy Who Could Dance" by It starts with you. It stays with him.

But James' dreams of smashing it on stage in front of a packed house were almost squashed by bullies.

In an environment where, as one teacher put it, "we still gear kids towards soccer and football and boy things," school bullies made fun of James for embracing ballet. But for him, the decision to dance was simple.

"Instead of playing other types of sports like football or something that I don't like ... I do something that I wanna look forward to every day. Like after school, I'm like, 'Yes, I get to go to the dance studio and dance.'"

Images by It Starts With You.

How did his parents respond to the bullying? Like rock stars.

James' two dads are fantastic because encouraging their son to participate in a sport that knocks down traditional gender norms is incredibly important and should be celebrated.

"They'd like cheer me up, because everyone needs someone to look up to in their life," said James.

That's what awesome parenting is all about.

With the support from his two dads, James now talks confidently about his love for ballet.

And his dance teacher is jazzed. She said, "I have more and more boys auditioning, and it comes from kids like James, who do it, talk about it, invite others to come out."

It's exciting to think about where James may land professionally in the future. "Maybe when I'm older, I can inspire people that it doesn't matter, you can still do what you want to do," he added.

Get it, James! To see "The Boy Who Could Dance" in action, check out the clip below.


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.