Many LGBTQ people have hilariously scary first crushes. This pop star is one of them.

I remember when I first realized, in straight-up gay horror, that I was different. Sitting by myself in a barber shop lounge, bored and fidgety, I'd reached for a Sports Illustrated (because Vogue and Vanity Fair were for girls, duh) and started flipping through while dad finished getting his hair trimmed.

Then, I landed on a spread that changed my life: an advertisement for underwear. Men’s underwear.

And I felt … lots of things.



Now, as an openly gay 29-year-old, that memory is pretty damn funny. Little gay me, feeling little gay stuff for the first time staring at a Sports Illustrated — in a barber shop lounge, of all places. The sit-com storyline writes itself.


But at the time, it was terrifying! I felt confused, worried — even a little disgusted with myself. Why was I feeling these weird, awful feelings? And how in the world can I make them stop?

Many LGBTQ people can relate to the confusing horrors of those first crushes — when you first discover you're different. Pop star Troye Sivan is one of them.

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Spotify.

The 22-year-old Australian recently opened up to Attitude about the traumatic experience he'd had fawning over a celebrity of the same gender.

"I remember I cried when I realized that I thought Zac Efron was really hot," Sivan explained. "I cried and felt really sick."

"It wasn't, 'This is just a little crush on a boy,' or something like that," he continued. "'I'm not just interested in this boy, I think that he's hot.' And that was weird for me."

Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images.

Sivan and I aren't alone: Petrifying puppy love can definitely be a thing for queer kids.

I texted a few of my gay friends to see if any of them had their own "barber shop" moment growing up, and most of them immediately shared an equally vivid memory.

For one of them, it was a famous actor's ... assets that did the trick.

"Pierce Brosnan's butt in 'The Thomas Crown Affair,'" read my friend's suspiciously fast reply. He'd really enjoyed the sight, apparently, and remembers thinking afterward that "that wasn't right."

Another friend also had the glossy, retouched pages of a magazine to blame for their disorienting "aha" moment.

Oh, boy. Image via the author.

Another was mortified to learn he wasn't envious of the taller guys at his all-boys high school — he wanted to date them. "I started realizing I'm not jealous, I'm attracted," he wrote back, adding "lol" and a shrugging emoji.

Even my editor, who approved my writing this story, had her own scary first-crush experience: "No lie, mine was Miss Honey," she said. "I crushed on Miss Honey from the movie 'Matilda.'"

These first-crush experiences are hilarious to revisit as more confident LGBTQ adults. But it's worth remembering how scared we were first feeling them all those years ago.

Living in a world still unwelcoming to LGBTQ people in many ways, closeted queer kids are more prone to a handful of serious mental health concerns, like depression and anxiety disorders.

Tragically, young LGBTQ people are far more likely to attempt suicide than their straight, cisgender peers too. They also make up a disproportionate number of homeless youth, with parental rejection being a driving force behind the discrepancy.

Adults need to get better at creating a world where every LGBTQ kid can have their first queer crushes — guilt-free and shamelessly.

Fortunately for Sivan, it all worked out pretty well.

"I ... started doing my research; that was when I started to become a lot more comfortable [with being queer]," the pop star explained to Attitude. "I watched coming out videos on YouTube and heard people speaking about their experiences and realized that I wasn’t a freak."

I wish I could tell little gay me in that barber shop that I wasn't either.

If you're a young LGBTQ person struggling with your sexuality or gender identity, friends at The Trevor Project can help.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Public Domain

A very simple thing happened earlier this week. Dr. Seuss Enterprises—the company that runs the Dr. Seuss estate and holds the legal rights to his works—announced it will no longer publish six Dr. Seuss children's books because they contain depictions of people that are "hurtful and wrong" (their words). The titles that will no longer be published are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.

This simple action prompted a great deal of debate, along with a great deal of disinformation, as people reacted to the story. (Or in many cases, just the headline. It's a thing.)

My article about the announcement (which contains examples of the problematic content that prompted the announcement) led to nearly 3,000 comments on Upworthy's Facebook page. Since many similar comments were made repeatedly, I wanted to address the most common sentiments and questions:

How do we learn from history if we keep erasing it?

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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When an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 most people who lived in the area fled. Some left without their pets, who then had to fend for themselves in a radioactive nuclear zone.

Sakae Kato stayed behind to rescue the cats abandoned by his neighbors and has spent the last decade taking care of them. He has converted his home, which is in a contaminated quarantine area, to a shelter for 41 cats, whom he refers to as "kids." He has buried 23 other cats in his garden over the past 10 years.

The government has asked the 57-year-old to evacuate the area many times, but he says he figured he was going to die anyway. "And if I had to die, I decided that I would like to die with these guys," he said.

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