When he saw his son kiss a boy, I thought he'd be mad. He completely surprised me.

You know those moments that just seem like something out of a movie?

You know the ones — when you're expecting an uplifting song to start playing right at the climax of a tearjerking scene, which you happen to be seeing live before your eyes? Well, I just witnessed an Oscar-worthy performance.

This weekend as I sat in Starbucks, writing — I know, it doesn't get much more cliché than that — I noticed a man and his son walk into the coffee shop. My gaydar immediately informed me that I was in the presence of my own kind.


Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images.

The boy was very handsome: With a Gaga shirt and rolled-up jeans, he looked to be around 16. A man who appeared to be his father — who could only be described as a man's man — accompanied him. Large and intimidating in stature, his father wore a camouflaged shirt and some rather dirty jeans.

A moment later, another young boy about the same age came into the shop. He walked over to the first boy and gave him a loving hug.

The father sternly nodded his head at the boy in a rather macho display of a greeting.

"Uh oh," I thought. This didn't look to be the kind of guy that would be incredibly happy about having an openly gay son.

The boys walked up to the counter to order their overpriced lattes, and the father stepped in to pay.

After getting their drinks and sitting down, the father said to the boys, "You guys be good" and gave them both handshakes (I told you he was a man's man). He told his son to call him when he was ready to be picked up, and walked out of the store. Facing the front door, I saw the father stop at the window of the storefront. With their backs turned to the door, unaware that dad was still watching, the boys leaned in for a kiss.

To my surprise, the father's reaction was that of a beaming smile. His son was in love, and it didn't matter that it happened to be with a boy.

Photo by Lhin Nguyen/Flickr.

Inside, I was a basket case. I held it together in public, but I really wanted to cry at the beautiful moment I had just witnessed.

But then it hit me: I had just judged someone. I had instantly assumed that because this man fit a certain stereotype, he was against equality and there was no way he could possibly approve of his son's sexuality.

It's easy to become cynical and jaded, especially when it seems that we are all too often faced with devastating stories like that of Leelah Alcorn, who took her life because of the rejection she faced from her parents after coming out as trans.

We can't forget that there are people doing better than we sometimes give them credit for.

I myself was met with rejection from much of my conservative family because of my sexuality, which has taken me years to overcome. But it occurred to me that for a group that often faces so much judgment, people in the LGBT community can be quite judgmental ourselves. We can sometimes jump to the assumption that people hate us for our identity — and many people certainly do — but we can't forget that there are people doing better than we sometimes give them credit for.

For every story of a person writing "faggot" on the door of a gay couple, there is one of a father smiling while watching his gay teen son openly embrace a boy he cares for.

For every horrible coming-out story, there is the story of a family that meets their loved ones with support and acceptance.

We certainly shouldn't undermine the struggles our community faces. We shouldn't only show the good and ignore the bad. We shouldn't stop fighting for equity just because we've received it for some.

But now, on those bad days when it seems like the odds are stacked against us, I can think back on the scene I witnessed at Starbucks — a scene of love and acceptance from an unexpected source — and have a reason to smile.

More

Image by Brent Connelly from Pixabay and sixthformpoet / Twitter

Twitter user Matt, who goes by the name @SixthFormPoet, shared a dark love story on Twitter that's been read by nearly 600,000 people. It starts in a graveyard and feels like it could be the premise for a Tim Burton film.

While it's hard to verify whether the story is true, Matt insists that it's real, so we'll believe him.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

"Clay's tallest story" is one we should all stop to listen to, no matter how much we think we know about mental health. What starts off as a forgettable fishing video quickly turns into a powerful metaphor about mental health.

What would you do if an unexpected gust of wind pushed your boat out to sea? You'd call for help. It's so obvious, why would anyone think differently? But when it comes to our mental health, things often appear so much more unnecessarily complicated. Thanks for the reminder, Clay!


Clay’s Tallest Story www.youtube.com

Heroes
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Approximately 10% of the population is left-handed, and the balance between lefties and righties has been the same for almost 5,000 years. People used to believe that left-handed people were evil or unlucky. The word "sinister" is even derived from the Latin word for "left."

In modern times, the bias against lefties for being different is more benign – spiral notebooks are a torture device, and ink gets on their hands like a scarlet letter. Now, a new study conducted at the University of Oxford and published in Brain is giving left-handers some good news. While left-handers have been struggling with tools meant for right-handers all these years, it turns out, they actually possess superior verbal skills.

Researchers looked at the DNA of 400,000 people in the U.K. from a volunteer bank. Of those 400,000 people, 38,332 were southpaws. Scientists were able to find the differences in genes between lefties and righties, and that these genetic variants resulted in a difference in brain structure, too. "It tells us for the first time that handedness has a genetic component," Gwenaëlle Douaud, joint senior author of the study and a fellow at Oxford's Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, told the BBC.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Pete the Plant is a maidenhair fern living in the Rainforest Life exhibit at the London Zoo, but Pete the Plant isn't like other plants. Pete the Plant is also a budding photographer. Scientists in the Zoological Society of London's (ZSL) conservation tech unit has been teaching the plant how to take selfies.

The ZSL held a competition in partnership with Open Plant, Cambridge University, and the Arribada Initiative for the design of a fuel cell powered by plants. Plant E in the Netherlands produced the winning design. The prototype cell creates electricity from the waste from the plant's roots. The electricity will be used to charge a battery that's attached to a camera. Once Pete the Plant grows strong enough, it will then use the camera to take a selfie. Not too bad for a plant.

"As plants grow, they naturally deposit biomatter into the soil they're planted in, which bacteria in the soil feeds on – this creates energy that can be harnessed by fuel cells and used to power a wide range of conservation tools," Al Davies, ZSL's conservation technology specialist, explains.

RELATED: This plant might be the answer to water pollution we've been searching for

Keep Reading Show less
Innovation