In Major League Baseball's 146-year history, there's never been an openly gay player. Until now.

This is what courage looks like.

First baseman David Denson made Major League Baseball history without even stepping onto a big league field.

According to Tom Haudricourt in an article for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Denson's path to the history books began about a month ago when one of his teammates made a homophobic joke directed his way. That's when Denson took a leap of faith and shared something with his teammates: He's gay.


He can also hit a 515-foot home run, so there's that. GIF from dplbaseball.

To his surprise and relief, his teammates — members of the Milwaukee Brewers' minor-league affiliate in Helena, Montana — accepted him with open arms, telling him, "You're still our teammate. You're still our brother."


Photo by Mark Hirsch/Getty Images.

As it turns out, there's never been an active, openly gay player affiliated with an MLB team before. Denson is the first.

Denson isn't the first gay man to play baseball — players like Glenn Burke and Billy Bean came out after their playing careers came to a close, and it's almost a certainty that of the 1,200 players currently on MLB 40-man rosters, there are a handful of closeted players — but he is the first to "go public" with that news, if you will.


In professional sports — and in men's sports, in particular — coming out as gay can make for a challenging career.

As much of the world has gotten to the point of at very least being able to accept gay individuals in the world around them, there's still a massive stigma when it comes to athletes.

Take, for example, Michael Sam, who made history in 2014 as the first out gay football player to be drafted by an NFL team.

After being drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams, Sam had an impressive pre-season before ultimately getting cut by the team.

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images.

Unable to land a roster spot on another NFL team, Sam planned to play this season for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League as he continued to pursue his dream of playing pro football.

Last week, after playing just one game with the Alouettes, Sam announced via Twitter that he was walking away from the game of football.

"The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health. Because of this, I am going to step away from the game at this time. I thank the Alouettes for this opportunity, and hope to be back on the field soon. Thank you all for your understanding and support." — Michael Sam

Earlier this year, a report came out suggesting that the U.S. lags far behind other countries when it comes to accepting gay athletes.

A survey of six English-speaking countries — the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Ireland — found U.S. athletes perceived more homophobia from fans and teammates than any of the other countries. 54% of U.S. athletes surveyed reported that lesbian, gay, and bisexual athletes were accepted "only slightly or not at all."

Out U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

So, why is it such a big deal that Denson came out? Because he had every reason not to.

He's 20 years old. He has everything to lose.

When former pro basketball player Jason Collins came out as gay in 2013, he was 33 years old, on the tail end of his playing career, and had earned more than $34 million. Had coming out ended his career, he had all that to fall back on.

Denson doesn't have that. He is ranked as the 27th best player in the Brewers' minor league system. There's a real chance that he may never reach the big leagues.

He has the support of his teammates and the Brewers organization; that's crucial.


He opened up about who he is even though he's certainly well aware of the possible outcome. That's courage.

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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

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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.

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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
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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.

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