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Identity

Her son came out. She called a gay bar for advice. The delightful conversation went viral.

Parenting done right.

Her son came out. She called a gay bar for advice. The delightful conversation went viral.
Photo courtesy of Kara Coley.


Kara Coley, a bartender at Sipps in Gulfport, Mississippi, got an unusual phone call on the job last week.

"Good evening," Coley answered. "Thank you for calling Sipps!"

A woman on the other end of the line asked, "Is this a gay bar?"

Sipps welcomes everyone, Coley explained to her, but indeed attracts a mostly LGBTQ crowd.





"Can I ask you a question?" the caller followed up. "Are you gay?"

"Yes, ma'am," Coley said.

Then things got interesting.

"What was the one thing you wanted from your parents when you came out?" the woman continued.

Coley, who's tended bar for about 17 years, was a little caught off guard. In all her years of experience fielding requests and helping others working in the service industry, she'd never received a question like that.

Photo courtesy of Kara Coley.

"My son just came out to me," the woman continued on the other end of the line. "And I don't want to say anything that may mess him up in the head."

Coley thought for a moment. Then she asked the woman if she accepted her son for who he is.

The woman answered "yes."

"You should definitely let him know that you love and accept him!" Coley said. "I think everything will be OK from there!"

The woman thanked Coley for her input and they parted ways.

Later that night, in the early hours of Jan. 19, Coley decided to post the entire interaction to her Facebook page, noting how "random" it all had been.

In the days following, her post went viral, amassing over 1,500 likes and hundreds of shares.

So I got the most random phone call at the bar tonight! 😀Me:Good evening Thankyou for calling Sipps!Lady on phone: Is...
Posted by Kara Coley on Friday, January 19, 2018

The post's comment section soon filled with love and gratitude for Coley's simple but endearing answer.

"My heart is truly touched by this," one Facebook user wrote. "A parent wanting to support correctly, and a beautiful response. This is progress. This is love and acceptance in the rawest form."

"Kara, this old granny lesbian is so grateful for you, and for a parent that thought outside the box to get advice!" another user chimed in. "Keep being you!"

"[The response] has been amazing," Coley writes. She believes her post struck a chord with friends and strangers alike because people are looking for encouraging news: "Every day people wake up and there's so much negativity in the world — people just need a breath of fresh air!"

For parents to an LGBTQ child, it's still vital to understand the facts too, Coley noted: "Educate yourself [on LGBTQ issues] and do a little research."

Ideally, parents should have access to better resources than their local gay bar when it comes to getting help with LGBTQ parenting. At the end of the day, though, the best thing you can do as a parent is make sure your kid understands you're there through thick and thin.

"Just knowing you have someone in your corner takes a little weight off your shoulders," Coley wrote.

Learn more about being a good ally as a parent of an LGBTQ child at PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). If you're a young LGBTQ person who needs help, resources are available at The Trevor Project.


This article originally appeared on January 24, 2018

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


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