A gay couple's late-night encounter with Jersey Shore 'drunk bros' is a snapshot of the messy march toward social progress.

Seaside Heights is a town on the Jersey Shore: a place synonymous with Snookie, The Situation, and a heaping helping of fist-pumping.

So you probably wouldn't be judged for thinking it's not a place of overwhelming inclusivity. In this case, though, you'd be wrong.

Let's set the scene: It's a spring night during prom season and deliriously happy high schoolers are sauntering down the boardwalk on their way home from a night they'll never forget.


As couple after couple passes by one particular rooftop bar, some bros overlooking the scene are screaming at couples to kiss. And then there's a pause.

Walking down the street is a gay couple in matching tuxedos (adorable). They're holding hands (adorable).

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But here's the thing — as openly gay "Good Morning America" producer Mike Del Moro noted on Twitter (where he live-tweeted this occurrence), they're doing it in a town "where — not so long ago — young men would shout the word 'f****t' out their car window as we'd stroll along the boardwalk."

Del Moro, who was on the boardwalk with his mother and boyfriend, was instinctively nervous for the couple.

That makes total sense. Even in an ultra-liberal center like San Francisco, I've been harassed for holding hands with my husband. So in a place like Seaside Heights, Del Moro definitely had cause for concern.

What happened next, though, was a heartwarming step in the direction of progress.

Let's let Del Moro's tweets do the talking:

Del Moro makes it clear this occurrence doesn't mean that "everything's fine."

It's just one instance. But it is movement. And, as Del Moro notes, "it's an encouraging moment for young LGBTQ folks out there."

For the teens at the center of the story, the moment was worth every second.

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You know how the internet works, so it won't surprise you that the happy couple was immediately found, identified, and lauded for being out in a place where being authentically yourself can become dangerous.

They're Theodore Vidal and Colin Beyers, boyfriends who couldn't be more happy that things are changing in their town.

Speaking to BuzzFeed, Vidal, who revealed that he had been bullied after he first came out, said their encounter with the strangers on the rooftop was completely unexpected. "It was so surprising that these guys were supporting us," Vidal said. "Especially after what I've gone through."

"It's an area where you normally would get discriminated against and the fact that those guys cheered us on was shocking," Beyers told BuzzFeed. "It's one of those small victories that makes the hard times worth it."

Speaking with me over direct messages, Vidal said that all the positive attention had made him and his boyfriend feel "welcome in the world," which is not always the case for LGBTQ youth. "It's made such an impact on me."

This is a reminder that things are getting better in small ways every day.

Admittedly, the story — however heartwarming — is still pretty problematic. Quick PSA to all dudes on roofs: Please stop screaming at people to kiss each other.

Catcalling is a bad idea regardless of why you're doing it, and there's no reason to put undue pressure on young people of any gender to kiss each other in public. And while this moment turned out great, it could have definitely been awkward or even upsetting.

That said, we shouldn't let those imperfections take away from the fact that this story proves LGBTQ acceptance is making real strides against toxic masculinity and bigotry.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the day when gay couples can walk around without being jeered at or celebrated. In the meantime, though, this feels like a step in the right direction.

"It's moments like what happened at Seaside that give me hope and make all the hardships worth it," Beyers told me. "It's funny, because we really didn't do anything; all we did was be ourselves in front of some drunk people."

Hey, that kind of bravery is often more than enough.

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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