When a New Jersey teenager summoned the courage to tell her parents she was gay, she never expected what they did next — or the massive social media response that would follow.
Kinsey Ratzman, 17, says her parents directly asked her a few weeks ago if she was gay because they "kind of suspected something was up."
The ensuing conversation was "awkward but sweet," Kinsey, of Mercer County, told NBC 4 New York, and it gave her the encouragement to come out to her friends over social media.
She wrote on Instagram: "A year ago today I found out that I'd be able to marry the love of my life in my own country... I was a very happy pup. #lovewins (& oh yeah btw I'm gay and this is me coming out yikes)."
Then, last Saturday, Kinsey's parents told her they'd be having an early Fourth of July party. They sent Kinsey to the mall with her cousin, and when the two returned, Kinsey walked into a house covered in rainbows, complete with a rainbow-colored food spread.
Her parents had thrown her a surprise coming-out party.
"It was so heartwarming and so sweet," Kinsey told NBC 4 New York over Skype. "I was completely shocked. I had not a clue that was going to happen."
On the grill were rainbow-themed vegetable kebabs, and the table was filled with rainbow pasta and fruit. The family gathered around their backyard table with rainbow cups and plates and rainbow napkins reading "PRIDE."
There was even a cake covered in fruit forming an American flag that revealed rainbow layers when sliced, homemade by Kinsey's aunt.
Kinsey's mom Allison said she had "a lot of fun" planning the surprise party.
"Lots of people were like, 'Are you sure you want to do that, you sure she's gonna enjoy that? You sure she's not gonna be embarrassed, this is kind of a whole new thing for her,'" said Allison. "But I said, 'No, I think she'll really appreciate it. It'll show how much we really support her and how much we're behind her."
"She's my daughter and I want her to be happy," Allison said.
To have her family's support "means everything," Kinsey told NBC 4 New York. "Your family is your rock. If they're not there supporting you, it's a really upsetting feeling. I have many friends in the LGBTQ community whose family members don't accept them and it really is a huge burden on their life and something they carry around every day," she said.
Equally gratifying for Kinsey has been the response on social media after she shared the story of her family's surprise party on Twitter.
"It has been amazing," said Kinsey. "The best part is seeing how happy the party has made everyone. Especially in light of the Pulse shootings this past pride month, our community needs a little joy and hope and I'm glad to say my family has helped contribute to that."
Kinsey tweeted: "My DMs are full of people sharing their coming out stories and their future plans for coming out because of my tweet. My heart is so warmed."
Kinsey, who will be a senior this fall at a private high school in Pennsylvania, said she wants to pursue political activism as a career.