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When Scottie Campbell moved to Orlando, Florida, 28 years ago, he found himself accepted into an LGBT community that was passionate and motivated, but ... small. And disorganized.

"There was a Pride parade that went down the street two blocks, turned the corner, and then just stopped," Campbell, a museum manager and writer, told Upworthy.

To say "things have changed" would be an understatement.


Orlando Pride. Photo by Grow by Love/Flickr.

"Now we do our Pride parade in October around National Coming Out Day, and it’s this major event that people come from all over. They get tens of thousands of people. We take over the center of town."

In the wake of Sunday's mass shooting at Pulse nightclub — the worst in modern U.S. history — focus has properly shifted to the attack's primary target: Orlando's LGBT community.

A mourner lays flowers after the shooting at Pulse nightclub. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

What emerged from conversations with current and former residents is a portrait of a city that has embraced its LGBT community, and a community that is disinclined to judge and quick to embrace newcomers.

“If you’re a queer woman of color from a small town in Florida and you come to Orlando, there’s a place for you," Erika Hanley, a recent University of Central Florida graduate, told Upworthy. "Myself and all of my friends have always felt that connection, and I think that’s why it's so heartbreaking."

Hanley, who moved to Orlando from a rural community two hours north of the city, credited Orlando's LGBT community with helping her feel grounded from the moment she arrived.

"People were very accepting, and they didn’t care about what type of situation you came from."

It's a closeness that makes Sunday's tragedy even more painful.

"Two of my friends perform in that club, so it’s just really easy to picture them there," Greg Triggs, a performer and author who provides creative services to Disney Cruise Line, told Upworthy.

Greg Triggs. Photo used with permission.

Triggs, who lived in Orlando from 1990 to 2003 and continues to work part time there, called it the "most generous [city he's] ever been to." He praised the local LGBT community for its inclusiveness, calling it vital to his personal and political growth.

"In Orlando, when I was coming up, a lot of us were there without our families," he said, explaining that a lot of people still weren't out to their relatives and found their family within the community.

"They’re open-minded, and giving, and successful about including everyone."

Within Orlando's LGBT community, he said, they "found the freedom to express themselves and become more community-based, and become more political, become more powerful in the acceptance that they found in that community."

Many credit the owners of Pulse nightclub, where the attack took place, for fostering this sense of community.

"They’re open-minded, and giving, and successful about including everyone," Sam Singhaus, a drag performer and host, told Upworthy.

Singhaus helped open Pulse 12 years ago and served as the club's original entertainment coordinator. He praised Pulse's founders for successfully establishing the club as a hub not just for dancing and drinking, but art and community as well.

Singhaus (left) as his character "Miss Sammy" and Michael Wanzie setting up Pulse before its opening in the early '00s. Photo by Sam Singhaus, used with permission.

"It made people feel good going in the door. It made everyone feel good and special."

Despite the tragedy, many said they were inspired by how the community has rallied together in the aftermath.

“Everyone has been so uplifting, so encouraging," Hansen said, hoping that the attack won't change anyone's opinion of the city.

“Orlando has given opportunity to a lot of people to find a place, to find a home, and us in the community don’t want just one event to mar that."

It's a sentiment shared by many in the LGBT community who call or have called Orlando home.

"I really did think I was going to move to Orlando for one year, save a lot of money, and then find my real home. And I stayed 13 years," Triggs said.

He believes one of the city's greatest assets is its singular ability to spread its ethic of inclusion and acceptance far and wide, even after such a horrible day.

Gay Days at Walt Disney World. Photo by jericl cat/Flickr.

"I think one of the cool things about Orlando’s community is that it’s made up by people who are from all over the country," Triggs said.

"So you know if they decide to go home, if they don’t stay in Orlando, they take what they learned there, and it affects their communities. It’s an amazing community of people, and its reach is beyond Orlando."

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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