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Identity

Legalizing gay marriage has caused a dramatic drop in LGBTQ suicide rates

A victory for America.

Legalizing gay marriage has caused a dramatic drop in LGBTQ suicide rates
via Ted Eytan

In June 2015 The Supreme Court of the United States declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

The legalization of gay marriage granted over 1100 statutory provisions to same-sex couples, many of them granting rights and privileges previously only afforded to heterosexual couples.

After the decision, President Barack Obama said the ruling will "strengthen all of our communities" by offering dignity and equal status to all same-sex couples and their families.

He called it a "victory for America."



However, the law didn't just benefit same-sex couples who want to get married, it also had a dramatic affect on LGBT youth. Two years after the legalization of gay marriage, the suicide attempt rate among LGBT youth declined significantly according to the Associated Press.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for U.S. teens. LGBT teens are five times more likely to make an attempt than their straight peers.

The study was conducted with over 26,000 LGBT youth participants in the 32 states where gay marriage was legalized up through the 2015 Supreme Court decision. The study found that suicide attempt rates dropped 7% among all students and 14% among gay kids after same-sex marriage was legalized in each state.

Part of the drop in suicide attempts by kids who didn't publicly identify that they were gay could be because they were closeted or questioning.

There was no change in states where same-sex marriage wasn't legalized.

While the change in suicide attempts doesn't prove there's a direct connection, researchers believe that the law made LGBT kids feel "more hopeful for the future." They also believe the measures increased tolerance among their straight peers while reducing the stigmatization felt by gay kids.

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A study out of Denmark and Sweden published in 2019 found similar results among married gay couples.

Same-sex marriage was made legal in 2009 in Sweden and 2012 in Denmark.

The study found that couples in same-sex unions saw a 46% decline in suicide suicide, compared to 28% of those in heterosexual unions.

"Although suicide rates in the general populations of Denmark and Sweden have been decreasing in recent decades, the rate for those living in same-sex marriage declined at a steeper pace, which has not been noted previously," researchers noted.

These studies show the power that societal recognition can have on stigmatized minority groups. When one is protected by the "law of the land" it means a lot more than what happens in a courtroom or at city hall.

It shows that you are accepted by the community and protected by those in power. For to love flourish — whether it's loving oneself or sharing it with a partner — first it must first be protected.


This article originally appeared on 01.24.20

Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.


I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.


Ask yourself: Could I live on this small of a full-time paycheck? I know what my answer is.

(And note that the minimum wage in many parts of the county is STILL $7.25, so it would be even less than this).

paychecks, McDonalds, corporate power, broken system

One year of work at McDonalds grossed this worker $13,811.18.

assets.rebelmouse.io

This story was written by Brandon Weber and was originally appeared on 02.26.15

Science

Researchers dumped tons of coffee waste into a forest. This is what it looks like now.

30 dump truck loads and two years later, the forest looks totally different.

One of the biggest problems with coffee production is that it generates an incredible amount of waste. Once coffee beans are separated from cherries, about 45% of the entire biomass is discarded.

So for every pound of roasted coffee we enjoy, an equivalent amount of coffee pulp is discarded into massive landfills across the globe. That means that approximately 10 million tons of coffee pulp is discarded into the environment every year.



When disposed of improperly, the waste can cause serious damage soil and water sources.

However, a new study published in the British Ecological Society journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence has found that coffee pulp isn't just a nuisance to be discarded. It can have an incredibly positive impact on regrowing deforested areas of the planet.

via British Ecological Society

In 2018, researchers from ETH-Zurich and the University of Hawaii spread 30 dump trucks worth of coffee pulp over a roughly 100' x 130' area of degraded land in Costa Rica. The experiment took place on a former coffee farm that underwent rapid deforestation in the 1950s.

The coffee pulp was spread three-feet thick over the entire area.

Another plot of land near the coffee pulp dump was left alone to act as a control for the experiment.

"The results were dramatic." Dr. Rebecca Cole, lead author of the study, said. "The area treated with a thick layer of coffee pulp turned into a small forest in only two years while the control plot remained dominated by non-native pasture grasses."

In just two years, the area treated with coffee pulp had an 80% canopy cover, compared to just 20% of the control area. So, the coffee-pulp-treated area grew four times more rapidly. Like a jolt of caffeine, it reinvigorated biological activity in the area.

The canopy was also four times taller than that of the control.

Before and after images of the forest

The forest experienced a radical, positive change

via British Ecological Society

The coffee-treated area also eliminated an invasive species of grass that took over the land and prevented forest succession. Its elimination allowed for other native species to take over and recolonize the area.

"This case study suggests that agricultural by-products can be used to speed up forest recovery on degraded tropical lands. In situations where processing these by-products incurs a cost to agricultural industries, using them for restoration to meet global reforestation objectives can represent a 'win-win' scenario," Dr. Cole said.

If the results are repeatable it's a win-win for coffee drinkers and the environment.

Researchers believe that coffee treatments can be a cost-effective way to reforest degraded land. They may also work to reverse the effects of climate change by supporting the growth of forests across the globe.

The 2016 Paris Agreement made reforestation an important part of the fight against climate change. The agreement incentivizes developing countries to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, promote forest conservation and sustainable management, and enhance forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

"We hope our study is a jumping off point for other researchers and industries to take a look at how they might make their production more efficient by creating links to the global restoration movement," Dr. Cole said.


This article originally appeared on 03.29.21

Pop Culture

Middle class families share how much money they have in savings and it's eye-opening

"I transfer money each paycheck but always end up needing to transfer it back."

Many middle class families are sharing that they have nothing in savings right now.

According to an April 2024 Gallup poll, 54% of Americans identify as part of the middle class, with 39% identifying as "middle class" and 15% identifying as "upper-middle class." That percentage has held fairly steady for years, but for many, what it feels like to be a middle class American has shifted.

Notably, inflation caused by the pandemic has hit middle class families hard, with incomes not keeping up with cost-of-living increases. Housing costs have skyrocketed in many areas of the country, mortgage interest rates have risen to levels not seen since the pre-Obama era and grocery bills have increased significantly. One government study found that cost of living has increased between around $800 and $1,300 a month depending on the state since 2021, putting a squeeze on everyone, including the middle class.

One woman shared that her family is just getting by and asked other people who identify as middle class to "chime in" with what they have in their savings account.

"I swear, every paycheck I am putting money into my savings, but needing to transfer it back within a few days," shared @abbyy..rosee on TikTok. "My registration is due. My husband's registration is due. He needed two new tires, even though they had a warranty. That's $300. My oldest needs braces, he needs a palate expander, that's $120 a month. Not to mention groceries are $200 more a week. Forget about feeding your family great ingredients because who has $500 a week to spend on perfect ingredients to feed your family?"


@abbyy..rosee

somethings gotta give #savings #middleclass #relatable

She explained that her husband makes enough money that they should be able to live comfortably, and that she quit her job because the cost of daycare was more than she was making.

"At some point, something has to give," she said. "What is going on? How do I save money?"

People in the comments chimed in with their savings account totals and it was quite eye-opening. Many people shared that they have $0 saved.

"We make the most money we ever have and have zero savings. We live paycheck to paycheck and every month I don’t know how we get by."

"I think the middle class is 1 personal disaster away from bankruptcy."

"Y’all got savings accounts?!?! 😂"

"I used to freak out if I had under $10k in savings, now I’m happy when I have over $150. 😫"

"We make almost 100,000 a year with no savings!!!! It's always something!!"

"I'm lucky if we have $500-$1K for an emergency. every single time we start saving something happens. the vet, the cars, the kids... something."

"Savings account? I transfer money each paycheck but always end up needing to transfer it back. My husband makes great money too but we are scraping by."

"$803 but we have to pay a $750 deductible this week b/c my Husband hit a deer soooo… back at it 😭 It’s exhausting. Constantly draining it, refilling it, transferring."

Some people shared that they do have some savings, but several said it was because they'd had an inheritance or other chunk of money come their way. Many people shared that their savings has dwindled as increased costs have taken their toll. Some people gave lifestyle advice to save money, but most agreed that just the basics have gotten so expensive it's harder to make ends meet much less put extra into savings.

Thankfully, the inflation issue appears to be waning, but even just plateauing at their current financial reality isn't ideal for many American families. Middle class is supposed to be a comfortable place to be—not rich, but well enough off to feel secure. That's not how many middle class folks feel, though. Most Americans don't have anything close to the amount of money saved that is recommended across the age spectrum, but at least hearing that others are in the same boat is somewhat comforting.

It can be vulnerable to put your financial reality out there, but it's helpful to hear what other people are doing and dealing with so we all feel less alone when we're struggling. Perhaps if people were more open about money, we'd all be able to help one another find ways to improve our financial situations rather than lamenting our empty savings accounts and wondering how to change it.

"Fun" dad versus "lazy" mom.

Last November, Upworthy published a popular story about Chloe Sexton, a mother who went viral on TikTok for a video she made explaining “daddy privilege” or the idea that fathers are applauded for doing things that mothers are supposed to do.

"In my opinion, 'daddy privilege' is that subtle upper hand men sidestep into as parents that allows them to gain praise for simply…being a parent," she said. "You fed the baby? What a great dad! You held the baby while mommy bathed? So considerate of you! You picked up something for dinner? What would your family do without you?! It's all the little ways mothers do exactly what the world expects of them without a second thought and then watch fathers get praised for simply showing up."

Sadly, the post resonated with a lot of mothers, because it's true. Expectations for fathers are so low that men are commended for handling basic parenting tasks. But if a mother falls short of perfection, she faces harsh criticism.

Mary Catherine Starr, a mother living in Cape Cod who owns a design studio and teaches yoga, is getting a lot of love on Instagram for her cartoon series that perfectly explains daddy privilege.


In "An Illustrated Guide to the Double Standards of Parenting," Starr shares this concept by showing that when a man comes home with fast food for his kids he's the "fun dad." But if a mom comes back with a bag from McDonald's she is seen as a "lazy mom."

In the comics, the same double standards apply whether it's how they handle technology or parent at the park.

(Note: Click the arrow on the right-hand side of the image to see the slideshow.)

Starr was quick to point out in the comments that the target of her comics isn’t fathers, but society at large. “This is not a dig at dads, it's a dig at our society—a society that applauds dads for handling the most basic of parenting duties + expects nothing short of perfection from mothers (or even worse, shames them for every decision and/or move they make!),” she wrote.

The comics resonated with a lot of women.

"This hit a nerve with so many women! I was a single mom living in an apartment,” an Instagram user named Saturdayfarm wrote in the comments. “Next door - a single dad. Neighbors felt so bad for him that they helped him with his laundry, brought over food, and babysat. For nothing. I just shakily carried on somehow. And I had so much less money and opportunities.”

"This is exactly part of the why I feel like being ‘just’ a mom isn’t as valuable. Being so run of the mill. But if my husband has the baby in a sling, the toddler in the pram and is out walking the dog, he’s superman for letting me have one hour for zoom work," rebecca_lee-close_yoga wrote.

A father who understands his privilege completely supports Starr’s message.

"It actually annoys me when I get those types of comments / ‘compliments’ knowing it’s totally a double standard," JonaJooey wrote.

Starr’s comics and Sexton’s TikTok videos won't stop the double standards when it comes to parenting, but they do a great job at holding a mirror up to the problem. Where do we go from here? We can start by having greater expectations for fathers and holding them up to a higher standard. Then, we should take the energy we put into praising dads for doing the bare minimum and heap it on mothers who thanklessly go about the most important job in the world.


This story originally appeared on 02.01.22

Family

Overwhelmed new mother hears the perfect parenting advice from her mom on doorbell cam

Monica Murphy was just one month into welcoming her third child into the world.

@monica_murphy/Instagram

Sometimes mom knows just what to say

“How on earth can one person do it all?”

This is a question so many mothers ask themselves. Especially after giving birth, when life seems to expect them to take care of their newborn, get their body back, return to work and keep a clean house all at the same time.

It’s a question that had completely overwhelmed Monica Murphy, only one month into welcoming her third child, while still recovering from a C-section and taking care of her other children, who were also nursing, according to Today.com.

Luckily for Murphy, her mom had the perfect piece of advice to ease her troubled mind. And luckily for us, it was all caught on the family’s doorbell cam.

In a now-viral Instagram post, Murphy wrote her formidable to-do list, which included:

Working

Staying present on social media

Maintaining a clean home

Tandem breastfeeding

Being present with my kids

Eating a nutritious diet

Making time for my husband

Keeping in touch with friends

Making time for myself

Planning activities for kids

Frick decorate for Christmas

Followed by that burning question: “How on earth can one person do it all?”

Of course, Murphy hadn’t expressed any of these stresses to her mom, who had been visiting. But still, her mom knew something heavily weighed on her daughter's mind.

So, as she was walking out, Murphy’s mom left her with these words of wisdom:

“They aren’t gonna remember a clean house, they are gonna remember how much you loved them and hung out with them.”

Murphy told Today.com that she “broke down” crying after her mom had left, and was instantly inspired to share the video for other moms who needed similar encouragement.

Indeed, the message struck an emotional chord with thousands of viewers.

“The way I would’ve just bawled if she said that to me,” one person commented.

Another added, “I needed to hear this today.”

Some shared how it was a sentiment they sadly would never hear from their own mothers, and how they are now re-parenting themselves.

“My mom would just nag I’m lazy and how am I supposed to leave my house a mess. So I’m just easing my anxiety with gentle words from other people’s mothers. As I’ve been doing my whole life. Clean house was above happy children,” one person wrote.

It can be so easy for moms to lose themselves in the never ending cycle of responsibilities and, frankly, unrealistic societal expectations. But hopefully this sweet message can help moms everywhere go a bit easier on themselves, and actually enjoy the time they have with their kids. That’s part of what family is all about, after all.


This article originally appeared on 11.15.23