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.

More

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture