This gay senior’s touching story reminds us that LGBTQ people have always been here.

From an outside perspective, Sandy Warsaw's life looked like any other woman's in the mid 20th Century.

She grew up in Westchester Country, went to Vassar College in 1950, graduated four years later, got married to a man a year after that, and, in no time at all, they had two children.

"You were supposed to get married and have children and live happily ever after," says Warsaw. "That was drilled into us, so you didn’t think of any other context."


Family in 1950s Glouchester, MA. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Her mother also made it clear to her that gay people were not acceptable as friends, much less as family members. When Warsaw went to camp as a young girl, her mother would always warn her to "stay away from the lesbians."

So Warsaw kept up her straight facade for the entire first half of her life — that is, until she finally divorced her husband and began to have relationships with women.

However, because many people weren't tolerant of this "alternative lifestyle," Warsaw kept these relationships hidden from her family for several years.

During that time, she mainly had beginnings of relationships with women who were often still married to men, and thus unwilling to get serious for fear of disrupting their status quo.

However, in the late 1970s, after she had been divorced for several years, she found reciprocal love with a woman for the first time in her apartment complex in New York City.

That relationship carried on for eight years, but it ended when Warsaw became a grandmother. She believes her partner was uncomfortable with the idea of being with a woman who had grandchildren because she was 11 years younger than Warsaw and didn't want to feel old.

Sandy Warsaw. Photo courtesy of Sage.org.

Needless to say, the separation took a toll on her.

She had a couple other relationships after that, but she continued to keep them from her kids until the early 1990s, when she finally decided to come out to them. She'd gotten used to keeping that part of her life separate from them, but a conversation with a cousin led her to believe they might already know, so she felt it was time. She also thinks she was waiting until her mother had passed away, because she knew coming out to her would not have gone over well.

Much to her surprise, her kids told her they'd known all along, and were just waiting for her to talk to them about it, but it still "was not a terribly easy conversation," says Warsaw. Her daughter felt like her mother had lied to her all these years by keeping this secret and maintaining an almost completely separate life.

While certainly uncomfortable, Warsaw recognizes her coming out story wasn't nearly as traumatic as what other LGBTQ people her age experienced.

“There are people from my generation who were kicked out of their families. There were people of my age who weren’t allowed to see their grandkids. I didn’t have that," she says.

Even though she didn't go through that level of trauma, Warsaw felt that she could still use a support system. So she joined a gay and lesbian synagogue.

It was really the first time that she had interacted with a group of out lesbians. And while she did feel the camaraderie helped, she again felt like she had to hide an aspect of her life, because she was afraid of being judged for having been in the closet for so long. Still the benefits to such an inclusive group eventually outweighed the drawbacks, and slowly but surely Warsaw became quite active in the LGBTQ community.

So she decided to start working for Sage — a national nonprofit that advocates for LGBTQ elders.

It was at Sage that Warsaw's drive to make a positive impact on her community really kicked into high gear.

"My father used to say, 'you get up in the morning, you wash your face, you brush your teeth, and you work for your community,' so that was built into me from an early age," notes Warsaw.

She became their first Director of Advocacy, Education, and Training, which meant she taught other members "how to define an issue, how to talk about it in three minutes, and how to take it up to the legislature in Albany."

Warsaw speaking to Sage members.

In that role, she worked on fighting LGBTQ discrimination against adoption, discrimination in longterm care facilities, and in medical facilities just to name a few. She also advocated for the recognition of seniors in the LGBTQ community, because ageism creates a whole other barrier.  All these things are still prevalent and technically legal, so it takes people like her to stand up for her community members' rights.

Since seniors tend to be quieter in public spheres like Facebook and Twitter, they can often get left behind in LGBTQ advocacy. That's why people like Warsaw make it their prerogative to be more vocal on their behalf.

While the work was full of challenges, it fueled Warsaw.

"It's always fulfilling when you can take a problem, define it, find the people who are responsible for making it better, and see it get better," she says.

America's taken huge steps forward in terms of LGBTQ rights over the last few decades, but, Warsaw says, there's still lots of work to be done.  

Despite being legally married, LGBTQ couples regularly face judgement and intolerance from local businesses, neighbors, and their own families. What's more, with a new Supreme Court judge, it's possible the marriage equality amendment could be reversed, and all this progress will ebb away.

As a result, "[LGBTQ] people are going back to being more cautious, having more fear and anxiety," says Warsaw.

However, in the midst of all this uncertainty and divisiveness, if more people align with the LGBTQ community, she truly believes discrimination will abate. After all, she grew up in a time when no one ever talked about being gay, and now she's giving public speeches about it.

As long as there are people pushing for rights and recognition, genuine equality in the country is possible.

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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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