How an arena responded to the NHL’s first gay kiss on the jumbo screen.

The crowd was definitely into it.

On Jan. 7, 2015, the jumbo screen at the Staples Center in L.A. featured a gay couple on the kiss cam.

During an NHL hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the stadium's kiss cam — you know, when cameras are pointed at a couple in the crowd in hopes they'll bless us with a peck? — did something pretty cool, and featured a gay couple.

Brad Parr and Andy Evans didn't hesitate — they just went for it.



GIF via Outsports/YouTube.

So ... how did the crowd respond? Fans were totally into it. Some of the biggest cheers erupted when Parr and Evans were featured on screen — something Parr didn't necessarily expect.

"What if the crowd booed? What if someone threw a drink at us?" he told Upworthy. "But the crowd roared its approval, which was wonderful."

It's reportedly the first time in NHL history that a same-sex couple has been featured on a kiss cam. That's a big deal.

Kiss cams are fun and lighthearted, but they've also become a staple in the sports-watching experience. And while the world of athletics remains a battlefield in the fight against homophobia, in many ways, an entire stadium cheering its approval of two men kissing certainly marks progress.

But despite the crowd's enthusiasm, Parr said he's "looking forward to the day when a gay kiss gets the same amount of cheering as a straight kiss — that is, when a gay kiss is considered completely normal and not out of the ordinary."

He told Upworthy the L.A. Kings organization has been "amazing" in its inclusion of LGBTQ fans and that he's part of the Facebook group "Gay Los Angeles Kings Fans," which is aimed at uniting an online community for people like him and Evans.

Brad Parr (left) and Andy Evans. Photo courtesy of Brad Parr, used with permission.

While the kiss was a first for the NHL, to be fair, the MLB beat them to it. Last May, a gay kiss was featured at a Dodgers game, and rumor has it an LGBTQ couple got some kiss cam love back in 2011 at a San Francisco Giants event. (All right, the ball's in your court, NFL and NBA.)

Probably the coolest part about Parr and Evans' overnight viral fame? They're using it to support a cause near and dear to their hearts.

Since news broke about the NHL's first same-sex kiss-cam moment (the kiss made it to the top of Reddit and has since been picked up by outlets like Mic, Outsports, and The Huffington Post), Parr and Evans have received a lot of positive attention.

A stranger who saw the kiss and knew Parr and Evans were supporters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) sent the couple $1,000 for their fundraising efforts, Parr explained. The two have supported LLS through running triathlons (they completed four last year!), and are gearing up for yet another this coming April.

So they've been trying to direct all this attention toward their fundraising page.

Parr and Evans with a fellow LLS fundraiser in 2015. Photo courtesy of Brad Parr, used with permission.

According to the page, donations will go toward research into new treatments for those living with blood cancers, which is a leading cause of death among those living with HIV/AIDS.

Parr and Evans' kiss is a good example of a cool viral story that's going the extra mile (triathlon pun intended).

"We could use [the kiss] just as bragging rights — it's pretty cool," Parr told Upworthy. "But we really want to use our 30 seconds of viral fame to help people — not just be minor gay-L.A.-famous for a day or two."

Check out the video that prompted that 30 seconds of viral fame below:

Most Shared

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