A senator's victim-blaming comments sparked a tutu-powered protest in Wyoming.

People across Wyoming are living up to its 'Equality State' nickname.

"I know a guy who wears a tutu and goes to bars on Friday night and is always surprised that he gets in fights. Well, he kind of asks for it," said Senator Mike Enzi.

"That's the way that he winds up with that kind of problem," the four-term Wyoming senator continued, responding to a question from a local student about his views on LGBTQ rights on April 20.

As one might expect, Sen. Enzi's statements secured him some major blowback from LGBTQ individuals, allies, and just about anyone who thinks that what outfit you wear determines whether or not you "ask for" assault.


Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Across Wyoming, people responded in the best way possible.

They donned tutus of their own and headed out to their local bars in a powerful statement of solidarity.

Yes, there is a man from Wyoming who wears tutus and dresses in his daily life. His name is Sissy Goodwin (pictured in the tweet above), a former rodeo cowboy and aircraft mechanic and probably the man Sen. Enzi was referring to. And, yes, Goodwin has been physically assaulted because he likes to wear dresses and tutus.

Wearing dresses and tutus is just part of who Goodwin is. He's not harming anybody, and he's certainly not "asking for" assault.

In droves, people turned out at Wyoming bars wearing tutus.

You gotta admit — it's pretty cool to see people come to his defense (and that of anyone else who eschews gender norms) in person and on social media in response to Enzi's remarks.

Wyoming may be known for things like cowboys and rugged masculinity — but it's also known as the Equality State, and this protest shows why.

"When LGBTQ Wyomingites are faced with discrimination, harassment and violence, we’re 'not asking for it,'" Wyoming Equality wrote on its website. "All Wyomingites deserve respect and dignity and to feel safe in our state — no matter what they’re wearing at a bar."

Because being bi isn't a phase. ❤ #LiveAndLetTutu #NormalizeTutus

A post shared by sara elizabeth ☀️ (@twigott) on

Lander's operation tutu! Love this town!!! #operationtutu #liveandlettutu #normalizetutu

A post shared by Liz Hardwick (@lizard_wick) on

Enzi has apologized for his statement, but when it comes to protecting LGBTQ rights, his voting record tells a pretty clear story.

As they say, actions speak louder than words.

As senator, Enzi has voted time and again against pro-LGBTQ measures (including votes against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act — Shepard, who was tortured and murdered for being gay in 1998, was from Wyoming — and against the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization). Additionally, he's introduced legislation that would make it legal to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples seeking to adopt children.

For the past two sessions of Congress, Enzi has received a score of 0 from the Human Rights Campaign, and in 2014, he was named to the group's "Hall of Shame."

The fact that people in reportedly the most conservative state in the country are ready to take a stand in the name of equality and LGBTQ rights is a major reason to smile.

Red states, blue states, and everywhere in between — there are good people doing good things across the nation and across the political spectrum.

If there's a silver lining to Enzi's clumsy and unfortunate remarks, it's that it gave the rest of the country a chance to see just how great the people of Wyoming can be.

#wyomingasfuck #liveandlettutu

A post shared by Robert Kirkwood (@mr_kirkwood) on

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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