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Her parents knew coming out can be scary, so they threw her the best party ever.

Coming out is hard. Having supportive parents makes it much easier.

Her parents knew coming out can be scary, so they threw her the best party ever.

After 17-year-old Kinsey came out to her parents, they decided they wanted to do something special for her to show her just how much she means to them.

Coming out can be a stressful and daunting task, no matter how easygoing your friends and family might seem.


Photo via @kinseyratzman/Instagram, used with permission.

Aside from being a teenager who had just come out to her parents, Kinsey also suffers from a debilitating medical condition called gastroparesis, which affects how she digests food. Like many conditions that occur in the stomach, it gets worse when the afflicted person is overly stressed.

To celebrate such a huge, stressful weight being lifted off their daughter's shoulders, Kinsey's parents decided to throw her a surprise pride coming out party.

"I decided to throw the party for Kinsey because I wanted her to know that her family loves her and we are 100% behind her," Allison, Kinsey's mom, said.

"We are hopeful that her coming out will help to alleviate some of her stress so she can lead a healthier life as she enters her senior year in high school," Allison told Upworthy.

To keep the party for Kinsey a surprise, her parents told her it was an early Fourth of July party and sent her to the mall with her cousin while they got everything ready.

"My extended family wasn't sure if Kinsey would appreciate the party or be embarrassed, but her father and I were pretty confident that she would appreciate the thought," Allison told Upworthy.

The house was decked out with rainbow decorations, rainbow food (all vegan for Kinsey), and the pièce de résistance, a cake that had an Independence Day-theme on the outside but hidden rainbow layers on the inside.

Photo via @kinseyratzman/Instagram, used with permission.

When Kinsey walked in the door, Allison says it was hard to read her expression at first.

"I sensed her confusion since she was expecting an Independence Day themed party," Allison told Upworthy.

"But as she noticed the rainbow pasta, rainbow grilled veggies, and rainbow fruit salad on the table, I could see the smile spread across her face."

"I had no idea," Kinsey told Upworthy, "because we often get together with family around July Fourth time, so I didn't think much of it. But we came home and they were all there, my parents, my brother, my aunt and her entire family, and my grandparents. I didn't even have makeup on or anything!"

Needless to say, Kinsey was blown away by the surprise. You can tell because she posted photos of it on Twitter and Instagram, places where teens only post things that are truly awesome.

In sharing her excitement and openness about the coming out party online, Kinsey sparked a second, virtual pride party.

Thousands of people have liked the pictures of Kinsey's surPRIDE party (as her cousin nicknamed it). She's received tons of supportive comments and messages from other people admitting their own fears about coming out to their families.




The responses were overwhelmingly positive, and Kinsey was thrilled to receive them, and of course the surPride in general, especially in light of the Pulse shooting in Orlando in June.

"I think a pivotal moment was when my mom and I were touring colleges in Massachusetts a few weeks ago," Kinsey said. "In North Hampton, we went to a vigil for Orlando; we just happened upon it. That was pretty moving for both of us."

While Kinsey's coming out process ended up being an overwhelmingly positive experience, she wasn't always sure it would go the way it did.

"They actually asked me [if I was gay]," Kinsey told Upworthy. "We basically had a long conversation, and then they gave me a big hug."

Kinsey says she recognizes that not everyone who decides to come out to their family is as fortunate as she is, and with that in mind, she doesn't want others to measure their story to hers.

"I wasn't positive [my parents would] be OK with it. I knew they were OK with the LGBT community, but firsthand experiences are always different," Kinsey explained.

Kinsey hopes her story will be a light to those who are struggling with the decision to come out.

"I do hope that it brings some hope and light to the community. But you do have to take into consideration your own situation because everyone's going to have different reactions," Kinsey told Upworthy.

There is a great web of support out there in the community, even for those who might not find it in their own homes. And just remember, if you're planning on coming out anytime soon — your coming out experience doesn't have to come with rainbow Independence-Day-themed cake to be special. But it certainly doesn't hurt.

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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