A waitress' perfect response to the kid who asked if she was 'a boy or a girl.'

Kids say the darndest things — and ask the most honest questions.

Liv Hnilicka, a waitress who lives in Minneapolis, experienced this firsthand earlier this week during a shift at the restaurant where she works.


Photo courtesy of Liv Hnilicka/Facebook. Used with permission.

Hnilicka, who is transgender, was approached by a man in the restaurant whose young daughter had asked about Hnilicka's gender identity.

The man didn't want to answer for Hnilicka, so he asked Hnilicka instead. Admittedly, she wasn't exactly sure how the conversation would unfold.

"I think I thought, 'I'm so impressed that someone actually asked me how I identify in this straight space,'" she told Upworthy. "This could go really poorly or really great."

And fortunately, we can report, it was the latter.

Hnilicka wrote about the experience on her Facebook page:

"Stellar parenting moment of the day:

This afternoon I was at my waitressing job on a beautiful early fall afternoon. Two parents and their young daughter came in; the tall burly dad adorably scratching his back on the door as they walked in. As I was filling the water station, he came up to me and said, 'My daughter just asked if you were a boy or a girl. I didn't want to speak for you so would you like to talk to her?' I nervously said yes and walked to their table. 'Hi, I like your hair ribbon,' I said. 'I heard you asked if I was a boy or girl. I think the important thing to remember is that everyone can be anything they want to be in this world. And it's also important to try to be the best selves we can be for our family and friends. And even to strangers. So to answer your question, I was told that I was a boy when I was little and now I live my adult life as a girl. It sounds complicated but it's actually pretty simple. Do you have any questions for me?' She looked at me smiling and simply said, 'Nope!'

I walked away from the table feeling really good about parents intentionally engaging their children about possibly difficult topics. And showing that giving people the power to voice their truths in this complicated world is beautiful and healing.

Way to go, mom and dads out there making space for transfolks/gnc people like me.
(Also I made this post public in case you want to share it with parents you may know.)"





Since it was posted on Sept. 20, 2015, the post has garnered more than 10,000 Likes and nearly 2,000 shares.

The response has been "overwhelmingly positive," Hnilicka told Upworthy.

And one glance at the post's comment section makes that very clear:

While Hnilicka's experience has "brought [her] such joy," there have, of course, been a few transphobic comments in the mix. But Hnilicka was quick to dismiss the haters.

"To me, [a negative comment] speaks to the idea that a lot of people hold disbelief that trans/[gender non-conforming]/intersex people exist at all," she explained of some of the negative comments she's read, most of which were people apparently angered about her pushing some sort of agenda. "But we do. We exist. We are not going anywhere."

Hnilicka's experience may be a seemingly small one. But she hopes it challenges our views of trans people.

Because our collective view of trans people as a society still needs a lot of work.

"I hope that people take away a sense of investment in trans/[gender non-conforming]/intersex people's rights and existence," she said, noting the several hurdles her community faces, like a lack of accessible health care, housing discrimination, and violence. "As allies, we need you to fight for us in solidarity."

And that starts with knowing how to be respectful — especially when it comes to acknowledging someone's gender identity. Although Hnilicka's customer went with a more assertive approach, she recommends people stick to saying something along the lines of asking, “I use she/her pronouns — what pronouns do you use?" instead of just interrogating a stranger about how they identify.

If Hnilicka's story teaches us anything, it's that understanding goes a long way.

Transgender people are our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our friends, and depending on who's reading this, ourselves. The lives and stories of trans people are just as valuable as anyone else's. If a curious little girl in Minnesota sparked this amount of good with a simple question, imagine what would happen if we all took a moment to understand others who are different from ourselves?

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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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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