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A trans boy and his mother have a heartfelt discussion about their shared fears.

He's only 8 years old, but he's worried about something very serious.

A trans boy and his mother have a heartfelt discussion about their shared fears.
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#WhoWeAre

8-year-old Gabe López shares a happy memory with his mom, Chris, about the time he went to camp and met his three best friends.

Their names were Luke, Brock, and Cooper — and like Gabe, they were all transgender boys, meaning they were boys who were assigned female at birth.

"Brock taught me how to pee standing up," says Gabe, prompting a laugh from Chris. The experience, shared in a new video collaboration between StoryCorps and Upworthy, was a joyful moment that contributed to the self-validation of Gabe's identity. The experience led to Gabe and Brock becoming "bros."


Image via StoryCorps/Upworthy.

The conversation takes a serious turn when Chris asks if Gabe ever gets scared thinking about what it'll be like growing up transgender.

"I’ve been wondering if when I’m older a lot of people will try to hurt me or something," he says, simply. "Do you worry about me?" he asks Chris.

"I worry about how other people might treat you," she says. "And it makes me upset to think about what you might have to go through."

The truth is that their shared fears of mistreatment and violence are valid — even, and perhaps especially, in today's world.

While transgender issues have been getting more attention in recent years — in 2014, Time famously declared the world had reached a "transgender tipping point," 2015 saw the emergence of Caitlyn Jenner, and earlier this year, Sarah McBride became the first transgender person to address a major political party's convention — that progress comes with a hefty price.

Increased attention to these issues has emboldened anti-trans lawmakers to enact laws designed to legalize discrimination against the group. Additionally, trans people are often the target of hate crimes. Every Nov. 20, the transgender community commemorates Trans Day of Remembrance to celebrate the lives of those who've been lost to anti-trans violence.

It's sad that an 8-year-old boy has to worry about whether he'll face violence just for being his authentic self. It's on all of us to push back on the forces that validate those concerns because no child should have to live in fear.

Listen to Chris and Gabe's heartfelt conversation below.

The difference between a politician and a public servant may be a matter of semantics, but when it comes to getting legislation passed that actually helps people, the contrast is stark.

Texas Representative James Talarico is on a mission to get his constituents the life-saving medicine they need. The 31-year-old lawmaker has just introduced legislation that would cap the price of insulin—a medicine people with type 1 diabetes need to live, which has become unaffordable for many—at $50 a month.

The mission is personal for Talarico, as he nearly died three years ago when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He shared his story on Twitter:

"In May 2018, I was a healthy 28-year-old running for the Texas House. I decided to walk the entire length of my district and hold town halls along the way. I hike Big Bend every year, so I wasn't concerned about a 25 mile walk...

But halfway through the walk, I began feeling nauseous and fatigued. Before the town hall in Hutto, I vomited in the bathroom."

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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