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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.

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.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via LinkedIn

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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