More

Ian McKellen had trouble making it through this powerful coming-out letter.

Sir Ian McKellen read a powerful letter we should all hear.

Ian McKellen had trouble making it through this powerful coming-out letter.

Sir Ian McKellen has been out and proud as a gay man for quite some time.

In that time, the actor has said and done a lot of cool things for the LGBTQ community. He's fought discrimination in the U.K., for example, and has been a voice of encouragement to young folks still in the closet. More recently, he pointed out that the Oscars don't just have a racial diversity problem — they lack queer representation, too.


Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images.

So it's no surprise to learn that a moving coming-out letter would tug at McKellen's heartstrings. Luckily for us, the beautiful moment was captured on film.

During a Letters Live event, where artists read powerful literary letters in front of live audiences, McKellen read a coming-out letter from book series "Tales of the City" by Armistead Maupin.

The letter is by a character named Michael Tolliver, who lives in San Francisco in the 1970s, and is writing home to his mother. McKellen had some trouble making it through with a dry eye.

In the novel, Tolliver has learned that his parents support anti-LGBT efforts from notoriously homophobic activist Anita Bryant (Bryant's work, unfortunately, is nonfiction).

So Tolliver takes a bold step and decides to tell his parents about his sexual orientation.

GIFs via Letters Live/The Independent.

Tolliver doesn't make apologies for who he is. But he understands what his mother must be feeling.


When Tolliver thanks his parents for making him the way he is — even if it's not what they intended, McKellen fought back tears as the letter hit close to home.

The whole letter is definitely worth reading if you have a minute.

The letter may have been written during a different time. But even with all the progress we've made, it contains a message that still resonates.

We've come a long way in queer acceptance. In the U.S., a clear majority of people now support same-sex marriage. And those who don't are on the wrong side of history, as marriage equality is now the law across the country. Awareness of issues that specifically affect LGBTQ people, such as bullying, are at the forefront of America's consciousness in many ways.

Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images.

But the voices of oppression are still strong. We have presidential candidates who want to reverse marriage equality. You can still be fired for being gay in many states. And the harmful practice of homophobic conversion therapy is legal in much of the U.S.

We still live in a time where coming out can be brutal. That's why the letter is likely touching many more hearts than just McKellen's.

Everyone who comes out has a different story to tell. For some, walking out of the closet is a breeze. For others, it means risking ending lifelong relationships with family and friends.

McKellen's moving reading is a great reminder that — yes, even in 2016 — there's still so much more work to be done. But it's best we do it with empathy in our hearts.

Watch McKellen's reading of the letter below:

Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

via idiehlpare / Flickr and ESPN

An innocent tweet by sports reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques erupted into a great discussion where people tried to describe the indescribable. "There's an unnamed media member in here who has never had a Dr. Pepper and asked what it tastes like," he tweeted.

"I have no idea how to describe it -- how would y'all do it?" he asked.

Marcel Louis-Jacques covers the Miami Dolphins for ESPN and appears on NFL Live, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, and more.

The question feels like a Zen koan such as "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" or "What do you call the world?"

Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

Keep Reading Show less