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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)

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

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Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

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Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

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A mom makes sensory sand by putting Cheerios in a blender.

A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

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Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

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