15 photos that show how gender isn't the most important thing about us.

There's a lot of talk about gender lately, which is great! There should be. Still, I think people forget sometimes that though we may be curious about gender, there is A LOT more to people than the labels we place on them and/or the labels they feel comfortable identifying with. Here's a photo series that challenges our stereotypes and makes us go beyond those labels and see people for who they really are.

Rhys Harper created this project because he felt like the "media and society in general is starting to discuss trans issues more, and there is more awareness, but so often, the focus of discussion is about bodies and what is underneath our clothes, instead of who we are and what we have to offer the world."

Guess what? We're all on the gender spectrum. Gender is a made-up thing that we all should get to define for ourselves. I don't fit in your box, and you don't fit in mine. That's one of the awesome things about being a human.


Take a look at these striking photos Rhys took and captioned, and consider this —

If you were being photographed, what would you want to showcase about yourself?

1. Aiden

"Aiden is a taxidermist and Native American two-spirit tribal artist who lives in Boise, ID. He also loves cars, specifically, his Gambit-themed Mustang that he has been customizing for the past few years. He says one of the most defining moments in his life has been the death of his soul mate, whom he lost to suicide – he gave him the courage to live life and find the happiness everyone deserves. He also loves things that are imperfectly perfect. He is pictured here in his Native regalia, which he wears for special occasions and pow wow dances." (Photographed in Salt Lake City, Utah)

2. Andrea

"Andrea is an activist and cartographer who lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. She was just featured in the Arkansas Times. She is also a stilt walker, as seen in this photograph." (Photographed in Little Rock, Arkansas)

3. Arin

"Arin is an Oklahoma teen who just published his first novel, Some Assembly Required. He is currently attending college in Oklahoma and plans to have a career in the outdoors." (Photographed in Catoosa, Oklahoma)

4. Chris

"Chris is a country boy living in Oklahoma. He works as an EMT dispatcher, but when he isn't working he is riding four wheelers, hunting, and getting muddy out in the backwoods of Oklahoma. He also is passionate about gun safety and wants to get his gunsmith license in the future." (Photographed in Leflore, Oklahoma)

5. Eri

"Eri grew up in the pool – she was on the swim team, and spent much of her life swimming in her parent's pool, where I photographed her. She was recently the subject of the documentary "TransMormon," featured on Upworthy, and works for a holistic health company." (Photographed in Orem, Utah)

6. Estelle

"Sister Estelle is an Episcopal nun who is currently renovating an old Victorian home as a safe home for people in transition." (Photographed in Indianapolis, Indiana)

7. Fallon


"Fallon is a professional mixed martial artist (MMA) fighter from the Chicago area. She has also been involved with national trans advocacy efforts and regularly writes for national LGBT media." (Photographed in East Schaumburg, Illinois)

8. Kaleb

"Kaleb is a professional cat rescuer in North Carolina. He manages a shelter in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, where he takes care of more than 70 cats and kittens. He lives in a small apartment on the shelter property, and works tirelessly to take care of the shelter cats while rescuing cats from the local animal shelter. In his limited spare time, he likes dancing to Olivia Newton John in his apartment."(Photographed in Cullowhee, North Carolina)

9. Kallie

"Kallie is a veteran, engineer, and aspiring professional cyclist. She is passionate about trans military rights, and says that she would go back to serving her country in a heartbeat if the military were to change its policies regarding trans people."(Photographed in Longmont, Colorado)

10. Lana

"Lana is a third generation firefighter who is in her 34th year of service. She was promoted to Lieutenant in 1992, and to Captain in 2000. Recently, she started volunteering as a mentor for a local court program that helps women who are survivors of human trafficking and are in the court system move forward with their lives in a positive way. She also serves on the national board of directors for GLAAD." (Photographed in Columbus, Ohio)

11. Landon


"Landon is a former US Sailor and trans military activist. His story made headlines when he was discharged from the military for being trans after being up from a promotion while he was deployed. Since returning from deployment and leaving the military, he has been an outspoken activist for changing the military's policies and allowing for open trans service. He also loves animals and has an adorable dog named Maizie." (Photographed in Washington, D.C.)

12. Mattee

"Mattee is a Native woman living who is doing HIV/AIDS work for a Native nonprofit health center in Albuquerque. She identifies first and foremost as dine', which is a Navajo word that means 'of the people.'"(Photographed in Albuquerque, New Mexico)

13. Natalie

"Natalie is a wildlife biologist who has recently been studying mink populations along the Sheboygan river. She is also a bow hunter, and does falconry. She is pictured here with her bird Bam Bam. In addition to her love for all things outdoor, she volunteers her time with several national organizations, including an organization that helps survivors of domestic violence." (Photographed in Random Lake, Wisconsin)

14. Tracy

"Tracy is a transgender-expressive novelist from Dallas/Waxahachie, Texas. She is also a blogger, reviewer, former actor & artist. She writes true-to-life stories, novels, & screenplays with real characters set in realistic situations. In terms of genre, she writes interracial/multicultural romance and drama with an LGBT twist. Her writing portfolio includes four novels, two original screenplay projects, and a collection of short stories." (Photographed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

15. Zoe


"Zoe is an amazing DJ, photographer, and activist. She spins every Saturday night at a local Cleveland nightclub, and is also involved with local activist efforts to assist trans women of color in the area, and also nationwide." (Photographed in Cleveland, Ohio)

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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

Cities

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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