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It was the kiss seen around the world. How Abby Wambach is challenging homophobia in sports.

We've seen it hundreds of times before: An athlete wins a championship, then rushes to embrace their significant other. So what makes this any different?

It was the kiss seen around the world. How Abby Wambach is challenging homophobia in sports.

Arguably one of the greatest soccer players in U.S. history, Abby Wambach is finally a World Cup champion.

Making her fourth tournament appearance since joining the U.S. Women's National Team in 2001, Wambach ended the 2016 World Cup a champion for the very first time — but that's not what the world is talking about the morning after.

Instead, they're focused on something she did that countless athletes have done before as they basked in the glow of victory: She kissed her wife.


Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

As soon as the final whistle was blown, Wambach rushed to the sidelines to find and kiss her wife, Sarah Huffman.

It was a beautiful moment with major potential to, as BuzzFeed said, "destroy your tear ducts."

Though Wambach and Huffman have been married since 2013, their kiss seemed like the perfect follow-up to June's marriage equality decision.

Both Huffman (a former professional soccer player herself) and Wambach have been involved with the LGBT sports organization Athlete Ally. However, Wambach has made clear that their relationship is about love — as most relationships are! — not politics.

After their wedding in 2013, Wambach said:

"I know that I'll end up being a role model for many, many people out there for all kinds of reasons. My first hope is for being a genuine, honest and good person, then a great soccer player and then down the line, the choice I've made to marry not only my best friend and teammate, but the love of my life. ... I can't speak for other people, but for me, I feel like gone are the days that you need to come out of a closet. I never felt like I was in a closet. I never did. I always felt comfortable with who I am and the decisions I made."

Wambach and Huffman at a party thrown by ESPN earlier this year. Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for ESPN.

Why is this a big deal? Well, sports have not exactly been the most LGBT-inclusive places for fans and athletes.

Just earlier this year, a study confirmed what many already knew: There's a lot of homophobia in the sporting world, especially in the United States.

After being drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the 2014 NFL draft, football star Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend on camera, sparking outrage in the media. During last year's Men's World Cup, homophobic chants from the stands were common enough to the point that FIFA felt the need to investigate.

So, yeah, even just a little bit of same-sex PDA can be a big deal.

Unfortunately, Wambach and Huffman's adorable World Cup kiss was't completely without controversy.

A Getty Image caption for one of the photos originally referred to Huffman as Wambach's "friend." Once people on Twitter pointed this out, the captions were updated accordingly.


But overwhelmingly, the Internet celebrated with the team and the happy couple.




Congratulations, Abby Wambach and the U.S. Women's National Team! You did it!

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.

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As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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