A straight man in Oklahoma wants you to know not all country boys are homophobic.
Cody Barlow on Facebook

There's an unfortunate — but not inaccurate — stereotype that people who live down south don't support LGBT+ rights. The story, of course, is much more complex. In Kentucky, for instance, where I got married because Kim Davis told me I couldn't, the reactions I got from residents ran from "Wow, we're so happy for you!" to "just don't talk about it here," to my brother telling me that maybe I should focus on "not speaking" in one small town which I would have happily moved to (if not for the homophobia) because there was a video rental/tanning salon combo on the main street.


But things seem (hopefully) to be headed in the right direction. And Cody Barlow, a straight man in Oklahoma, is working to challenge the idea that all "country boys" are incapable of accepting and supporting the LGBT+ people in their lives (and in general).

In June, Barlow posted a picture of his truck. Now, if you've checked your Facebook feed recently, that isn't such a big deal. People post pictures of their cars all the time in the hopes that you'll hit them with a heart emoji. But Barlow's photo was different. He'd used duct tape and mailbox letters to transform the back of his pickup into a supportive message for anyone who identifies as LGBT+.


"This is important to me, not only because I have family and friends that are LGBTQ+, but also because countless people have dealt with hatred and judgement simply for who they are, and/or who they love, for far too long, " Barlow wrote in the accompanying caption. "Obviously doing this isn't going to change the minds of those who are intolerant, but hopefully it can help drown out the hatred with love."

And he didn't care about any of the negative reactions he might receive: "I live in a rural area in Oklahoma, surrounded by small towns in every direction, and I'm sure this is not a very welcome message around here," he wrote. "But this is going to be displayed on my truck for the entire month of June in support of pride month."

Barlow wasn't wrong about getting some people mad, though. While most of the comments he received on his photo were from people congratulating him on his creative show of love, others denigrated him for his support, suggested they were "cool with those people until they force their agenda down my throat,"* and insisted that Barlow was the bigoted one for drawing attention t the problem of homophobia among those that would also call themselves "country boys."

In a world where conservatives (and white supremacists) have dreamed up a "straight pride" just to troll those who identify as LGBT+, I'd say Barlow's message is still sorely needed.

* What does this talking point even mean? It's trotted out every time anyone mentions Pride and completely ignores that heterosexuality is consistently shoved into everyone's faces 24/7. Inclusivity is not an "agenda." Just let the gay rats get married on TV!

President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

Keep Reading Show less
via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

Keep Reading Show less