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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.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

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Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

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Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Teen raises $186,000 to help Walmart worker retire.

In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.

Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

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Philadelphia is taking the city back to the past.

Remember when calling your parents, a tow truck or a friend when you were out and about meant digging in your pocket for a quarter to make a pay phone call? Well, a Philadelphia-based collective, PhilTel, is jumping into the past with a modern twist, by installing free-to-use pay phones throughout the city.

Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.

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This article originally appeared on 07.22.21


As if a Canada goose named Arnold isn't endearing enough, his partner who came looking for him when he was injured is warming hearts and having us root for this sweet feathered couple.

Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts shared the story on its Facebook page, in what they called "a first" for their animal hospital.


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Think all cats are the same? These pictures prove they each have their own personality

Photographer Nils Jacobi shows how cats aren't nearly as aloof as one might think.

All images used with Nils Jacobi's permission. @furryfritz/Instagram

Catographer purrfectly captures cats' purrsonalities.

People often mistakingly attribute a singular personality to cats—usually the words "aloof" or "snobby" are used to describe them. At best, they might be given the "evil genius" label. But in actuality, no two cats are alike. Each has their own distinct ways of being, whether that’s silly, sophisticated, affectionate, downright diabolical or somewhere in between.

This photographer has the pictures to prove it.

Nils Jacobi, better known online as furryfritz, the catographer, has photographed literally thousands upon thousands of cats—from Maine coons who look like they should be in a perfume ad to tabbies in full-on derp mode.
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