The election outcome has spurred a wave of fear among our LGBTQ kids.

“We were unusually busy last night," said Steve Mendelsohn, deputy executive director at the Trevor Project on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

As the 2016 election drew to a close in the late hours of Nov. 8, 2016, many young LBGTQ kids were left in despair.  The Trevor Project is an LGBTQ youth crisis intervention organization, and they were just one of many groups our country desperately needed as the clock ticked toward the declaration of a president-elect Trump.

“People are very anxious about what happened," Mendelsohn says. "People are likely scared that their rights are going to be taken away.”


A woman sheds tears at Clinton's election night event in New York. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender kids are particularly vulnerable right now and have been for the entire election cycle.

Kids were listening when Trump suggested nominating Supreme Court justices who would reverse the decision on marriage equality. They learned about his running mate, Mike Pence, who supports conversion therapy — which is a form of child abuse — and who approved a religious freedom bill that discriminated against people like them.

“LGBTQ youth felt vulnerable throughout the entire campaign when they listened to the rhetoric coming from many of the candidates," Mendelsohn said. "The outcome of the campaign did not make them feel comforted.”

Crisis Text Line, which allows anyone in despair to connect to a counselor through their phone, reported double the volume of texts in the 24 hours following the election. "Election" and "scared" were two words mentioned most by those who texted in. The most prevalent words associated with one another were "scared" and "LGBT."

The day after the election, several transgender kids reportedly committed suicide in the wake of Trump's win.

Image via iStock.

If you are a young LGBTQ person feeling hopeless right now, know that most Americans are standing with you.

This week, more of us voted for a candidate who fights for LGBTQ people and their protections than for the candidate who won (the president-elect won in the Electoral College votes, not the popular vote). Americans — particularly young people — believe in your equality.

If our future president wants to take away your rights, he's going to have to go through the American people first.

If you know a young LGBTQ person, don't just assume they're OK.

They may need to hear your voice right now, even if they haven't shown it. “The most important thing [allies] can do is to let their loved ones know that they’re there for them," Mendelsohn said. "To actually reach out to them and say, ‘I care about you, I love you, and I’m here to help anytime you need me.’"

You can also learn more about the Trevor Project and support the work that they do.

If you are anyone else who's feeling helpless and scared, know that you are not alone.

We've watched an unprecedented campaign built on xenophobia, misogyny, and racism win the election this week. Many of us are feeling vulnerable, anxious, and scared — and rightfully so. Remember that the majority of Americans are in your corner, and we're going to fight like hell for you, your rights, and your future.

We can't think ourselves to a better place on our own, though, and that's OK. There are people who are here to help for exactly that reason.

If you are a young LGBTQ person in crisis, don't suffer in silence. Someone who loves you is waiting one phone call away, day or night, at The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386.

To contact Trans Lifeline, a hotline staffed by and aimed at helping transgender people, call 877-565-8860.

To anyone else in need, Crisis Text Line is there for you, 24/7: Text START to 741741. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is also available at 800-273-8255.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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