How one woman and 'Supergirl' helped a teen feel comfortable in her own skin.

'I was her at that age. Scared of who I was, and thought I was alone.'

​Mary Swangin was working an otherwise ordinary Saturday at a Fort Wayne, Indiana, comic book store when a teenage girl came in looking "absolutely terrified."

Swangin tweeted the encounter later that day, explaining that when she went to help the girl, it quickly became clear that the girl needed more than just a good comic recommendation — she needed someone to listen and understand her. As luck would have it, Swangin happened to be the perfect person for the job.

Once Swangin started talking to her, she realized the girl must have recently come out of the closet, and Swangin, having also come out around that age, immediately empathized with her.


The girl explained that she's a huge fan of Supergirl's sister Alex Danvers, who recently came out in an episode of The CW show.

In season 2 of "Supergirl," Danvers (played by Chyler Leigh) realizes that she's a lesbian and becomes romantically involved with Maggie Sawyer (played by Floriana Lima), an openly gay cop on the show — a pairing affectionally known as "Sanvers" by fans.

GIF from "Supergirl."

"We're walking to the Super area when I ask if she watches the show. She smiles a bit and nods. Says Alex is her favorite. I mention that I'm a huge shipper and the poor thing just breaks down in tears. I'm trying to figure out what the hell I did to upset her. She's crying and I'm freaking out. After a minute or so, everything clicks. I'm staring down a crying baby gay. One who was having some big issues. I tell her that it was hard for me when I wanted to come out too. She finally stops crying and asks me if it gets easier," Swangin tweeted.

In the course of their conversation, the girl confessed to Swangin that she had been suicidal and that Danvers' coming out story arc was one of the only things keeping her hope alive in a difficult time.

"I was her at that age. Scared of who I was, and thought I was alone," explains Swangin over a direct message on Twitter. For Swangin, the character she was drawn to was Kate Kane as Batwoman. "She was a military cadet who was expelled under DADT [Don't Ask Don't Tell] and hit rock bottom," writes Swangin. "She had to claw her way up, and if she could do it, so could I."

Which is why she decided to share the whole story on Twitter:

Sometimes superheroes don't wear capes. Sometimes they wear regular clothes and work in comic book stores.

$60 comics aside, this girl will know forever that she's far from alone in her coming out story.

Even Chyler Leigh, the actress who plays Danvers, responded to the tweet thread to let the girl — and anyone else feeling alone — know that she, and Supergirl, have her back.

The more that marginalized groups are represented in the media, the more people will feel accepted and connected to a larger community. Like it or not, pop culture has that power, and with that power comes the obligation to be as inclusive as possible.

More

Brace yourselves, folks, because this is almost too friggin' adorable to handle.

A 911 call can be a scary thing, and an emergency call from a dad having chest pains and trouble breathing is no exception. But thankfully, an exchange between that dad's 5-year-old daughter and 911 dispatcher Jason Bonham turned out to be more humor than horror. If you missed hearing the recording that has repeatedly gone viral since 2010, you have to hear it now. It's perfectly timeless.

Keep Reading Show less
Family

Image by Brent Connelly from Pixabay and sixthformpoet / Twitter

Twitter user Matt, who goes by the name @SixthFormPoet, shared a dark love story on Twitter that's been read by nearly 600,000 people. It starts in a graveyard and feels like it could be the premise for a Tim Burton film.

While it's hard to verify whether the story is true, Matt insists that it's real, so we'll believe him.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Can the teens do literally anything without being blasted? Apparently not...

Katie Cornetti and Marissa Bordas, two Pittsburgh teens, were involved in a car crash. After taking a sharp turn on a winding road, the car flipped twice, then landed on its side. The girls said later on that they weren't on their phones at the time. The cause of the crash was because the tires on Bordas' car were mounted improperly.

The girls were wearing their seatbelts and were fine, aside from a few bruises. However, they were trapped in the car for about 20 minutes, so to pass the time while they waited for help, they decided to make a TikTok video. They made sure they were totally fine before they started recording.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Approximately 10% of the population is left-handed, and the balance between lefties and righties has been the same for almost 5,000 years. People used to believe that left-handed people were evil or unlucky. The word "sinister" is even derived from the Latin word for "left."

In modern times, the bias against lefties for being different is more benign – spiral notebooks are a torture device, and ink gets on their hands like a scarlet letter. Now, a new study conducted at the University of Oxford and published in Brain is giving left-handers some good news. While left-handers have been struggling with tools meant for right-handers all these years, it turns out, they actually possess superior verbal skills.

Researchers looked at the DNA of 400,000 people in the U.K. from a volunteer bank. Of those 400,000 people, 38,332 were southpaws. Scientists were able to find the differences in genes between lefties and righties, and that these genetic variants resulted in a difference in brain structure, too. "It tells us for the first time that handedness has a genetic component," Gwenaëlle Douaud, joint senior author of the study and a fellow at Oxford's Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, told the BBC.

Keep Reading Show less
popular