This Disney actress once tried conversion therapy. Now, she's out and proud.

"Do it. Just say something. No, don’t. Don’t stare," actress Alyson Stoner wrote of her fumbling, adorable first thoughts while falling for someone new. "Side-hug and leave."

Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images.

The now-24-year-old was crushing (and crushing hard) on a dance instructor she'd met at a new workshop. There was just one small — well, overwhelming and disorienting — issue: The instructor was a woman. And these new, uncomfortable feelings were puzzling for Stoner, to say the least.


In a powerful new essay in Teen Vogue, the actress and dancer — known for her roles in Disney Channel's "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," and films like "Cheaper By the Dozen" and the "Step Up" series — reflected on the first time she fell in love with another woman. It's a story that's equal parts heart-wrenching and delightful.

First came all the relatable feelings of irresistible puppy love.

"My heart raced wildly and my body grew hot," the actress wrote, describing a moment when the instructor corrected her form in class. "Was I nervous to fail in front of an expert? Was I breathing heavily from being out of shape?"

But these butterflies, Stoner soon discovered, went far beyond sisterly or platonic love. The train had already left girl crush station.

Stoner has some fun on a red carpet in 2017. Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Awesomeness.

The two women started to hang out outside of class. They began opening up to one another. They Netflixed (and chilled). Pretty soon, it became abundantly clear: "OK, we were in a relationship," Stoner wrote. "I fell in love with a woman."

But, unfortunately, it just wasn't that simple.

Stoner, a person of religious faith, had to unpack many confusing thoughts. She even attempted conversion therapy to avoid embracing these new feelings.

"Like many, I had internalized some of the harmful beliefs and misconceptions about LGBTQ people and identities," Stoner wrote.

She dissected all the factors that could have led her down this road. Was it because she'd experienced abuse from men before? Was it because she was surrounded by open-minded artists and she — even on a subconscious level — wanted a queer identity to help fit in? "Maybe I actually want to be her, and I'm mistaking idolization for romance," she wrote.

Stoner prayed. She turned to reading — both "contemporary and ancient" texts — hoping the words would leap off the page and make it all make sense. She didn't have many queer-affirming voices telling her these feelings were totally normal and perfectly OK.

"Certain pastors and community members tried to reverse and eliminate my attraction to her," she wrote in Teen Vogue.

Conversion therapy — a harmful practice that aims at altering a person's sexual orientation — has been discredited by every mainstream medical and mental health organization in the U.S., according to the Human Rights Campaign. Not only does it not work, but it can lead to depression, anxiety, and suicide for young people at risk.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

"Some people in the industry warned me that I’d ruin my career, miss out on possible jobs, and potentially put my life in danger if I ever came out," Stoner wrote. "My dream and all I’d worked tirelessly for since the age of 6 was suddenly at risk by my being ... true to myself."

Finally, after hitting what felt like rock bottom, things began falling into place for Stoner.

"I’ll never forget the night I finally collapsed on my bed with tear-stained cheeks, saying, 'God, if I’m evil, then I accept this and give up,'" Stoner wrote. "I’ve believed you are loving, but I don’t want to live a lie."

Instead of devastation, however, the breakdown filled her with a sense of hope. She began seeing the world around her — "life, God, love, humanity, and (literally) everything" — in a new light.

"I, Alyson, am attracted to men, women, and people who identify in other ways," she finally felt comfortable proclaiming. "It is the soul that captivates me."

Stoner is one of a growing number of young Americans who feel comfortable coming out as LGBTQ.

According to Gallup analysis published last year, 10 million Americans — or 4.1% of U.S. adults — identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer. That's up from 3.5% in 2012. Millennials, the analysis found, were the most likely age group to identify as LGBTQ, reflecting the growing acceptance of queer Americans — particularly among young people.

Things really are changing for the better, Stoner believes. And if you're wrestling with your sexuality or identity, she's got your back.

"If you’re questioning or struggling with your sexuality, gender identity, or anything else, know that I and so many who’ve gone before us are with you," Stoner wrote. "Whatever your identity, you are lovable and wonderful and enough. I’m on the other side of some of these battles internally, but it’s still a challenge in the outside world. It’s OK. Dare to be yourself anyway." ❤️

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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