Most politicians end their campaign ads with a shot of their family. Richard Madaleno is no exception.

Madaleno, who is running to be the Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland, devoted his latest ad, "Take That," to how he'd "infuriate" Donald Trump. During the short clip, he rattles off a series of accomplishments, such as standing up for Planned Parenthood, banning assault weapons, and supporting public schools.

The video cuts to a shot of Madaleno and his husband and two children in the closing seconds. He says, "And what's the number one way I can piss off Donald Trump and the Republicans?" before leaning in and kissing his husband.


[rebelmouse-image 19534715 dam="1" original_size="500x252" caption="GIF from Richard Madaleno/YouTube." expand=1]GIF from Richard Madaleno/YouTube.

The LGBTQ Victory Fund called the ad "historic" for featuring a same-sex kiss. And sure, probably.

"At a time when the White House and other anti-LGBTQ politicians are attempting to erase our visibility and rollback our rights, Rich Madaleno is boldly stating he’s proud of his family and will fight for all Marylanders if elected," Annise Parker, president & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said.

"Not long ago, out LGBTQ people were unable to run for statewide offices such as governor, but voters now recognize there is an authenticity to LGBTQ leaders rarely found in today’s politicians. Rich is on-track to win the Democratic primary because of that authenticity, his deep roots in the state, and his 15 years of legislative experience. And it is great to see him share his love for Mark and the kids with voters too — especially in a political ad airing during the president’s favorite television show."

The ad, as Parker hinted, ran in Maryland and the District of Columbia during "Fox & Friends." This really was some top-level trolling. It is worth noting that the number of Republicans who support same-sex marriage is on the rise. There's still a long way to go, however. Pew Research found that in 2017 that 40% of Republicans approve of same-sex marriage, compared to 73% of Democrats.

More LGBTQ representation in government would definitely be an improvement.

Parker, the former mayor of Houston and an out lesbian, raises a really great point about the lack of LGBTQ representation. The Victory Institute (the research arm of the Victory Fund) released a report in Dec. 2017 highlighting just how underrepresented LGBTQ people are in government, noting that they were only aware of 448 LGBTQ elected officials serving in the U.S., just 0.1% of the total. In order to achieve equitable representation, they estimate a need for 21,307 more LGBTQ officials.

Annise Parker speaks during a Family Equality Council event in 2015. Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Family Equality Council.

"Nothing about us without us" and "No taxation without representation" are common themes throughout history touching on people who are underrepresented in an organization or government or who are simply denied a voice entirely. It's hard for LGBTQ people's concerns to be heard without proportionate representation — the same goes for other underrepresented groups, such as people of color. While nobody is suggesting we find a way to elect another 20,000 LGBTQ people immediately, it certainly couldn't hurt to have a few more in positions of power.

It would really be nice to live in a world where two husbands kissing doesn't immediately conjure shock value.

A quick look at comments on the original video shows that there are still people extremely uncomfortable with the idea that LGBTQ people exist. Unfortunately for them, we absolutely do exist. Straight politicians kiss their spouses so often that we hardly notice it (unless it gets awkward, and yeah, sometimes it gets awkward).

Perhaps the confrontational nature ("Take that!") of the kiss in Madaleno's ad makes an important point of defiance to an administration that's been anything but friendly to LGBTQ people since taking power. Let's just hope it doesn't always have to be that way.

You can watch Madaleno's full ad below.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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