+
More

After Trump won, they decided to get married. And invited 3 million people to join them.

On Saturday, Nov. 12, Jesse Sanders and Josh Seifert stood hand-in-hand in Central Park.

The afternoon was colder than usual, but the couple smiled, warmed by the occasional sunbeam and the confidence that things were about to change for the better. Sure, they'd been engaged for a year, but this day, their wedding day, happened like a goodnight kiss: slow at first, then all at once.

Jesse (left) and Josh during their wedding ceremony. Photo by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York, used with permission.


Just days prior, the couple had no clue they'd be getting married so soon. Their quick wedding had everything to do with Donald Trump.

"We were big Clinton supporters so [the election] hit us very hard," Sanders wrote in an email. "We had been considering getting married sometime soon, but I don't want anyone to get the impression that we got married last Saturday out of fear. "

The future is uncertain, but love isn't. Photo by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York, used with permission.

Instead, they say they wed as tribute to an era of almost unimaginable positive steps for the LGBTQ community, diversity, and inclusion: from the election of the country's first black president and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell to marriage equality reaching all 50 states. The happy couple wanted to be a part of it, especially with the future looking so uncertain.

"We don't know what the next historical era holds but so far, it is looking to be unsettling," he said.

After proposing one more time to Seifert, Sanders sent an invite to his friends and 3 million strangers to their wedding, which suddenly was just three days away.

Sanders, a member of the private Clinton fan group Pantsuit Nation, shared news of his impending wedding with the groups more than 3 million members. His post received thousands of likes and shares. When complete strangers started asking for an invite, Sanders went with it and invited the well-wishers to join him and Seifert at Sheep Meadow in Central Park.

Wedding guests signing the guest book. Photo by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York, used with permission.

"My husband is self-admittedly quite shy so when I had to break it to him that I might have accidentally invited 3 million people to our wedding, he was a bit shocked," Sanders said. "Once he started reading all of the love, his eyes welled up too and he couldn't say 'no' to inviting these strangers who wanted to share in our happiness. "

The day arrived and Josh, Jesse, their friends, and a few joyful strangers from across the northeast came out to celebrate in Central Park.

There were hugs, well wishes, presents, and even a handmade sign. One guest from Pantsuit Nation, Karen Seifert (no relation to Josh) is a photographer. She volunteered to take their wedding photos.

Josh and Jesse welcome complete strangers to their wedding ceremony in Central Park. Photos by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York, used with permission.

"The combination of friends and family we had known for such a long time and strangers who had simply been touched by our story gathered around me and the love of my life, watching us consecrate our union was the single most incredibly profound event I have ever experienced," Sanders said.

Friends, family, and strangers after the ceremony. Photo by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York, used with permission.

Of course, Jesse and Josh aren't the only folks from the LGBTQ community reacting with love and hope in the wake of this life-changing election.

Bethany Johnson of Springfield, Missouri, woke up on Nov. 10 with a knot in her stomach following the election. Johnson, a 37-year-old transgender woman, had recently moved back to Springfield, Missouri, and decided to take a small but hopeful step by sprucing up her white picket fence and painting her gate rainbow colors.

She started her project with gusto, but after a run-in with Trump supporters at the hardware store, Johnson got discouraged. She even considered dropping everything and moving to Canada. But after talking to some of her friends, she decided to stay and fight — not with fists, but with kindness.

"I realized that it is wrong to leave people here who will be doing the work for the society I want," Johnson said in an email.

She got up and met her neighbors, handing out homemade biscuits and telling them how fearful she was. But reaching out and meeting people face-to-face helped.

"I came home after talking to all of those people and I painted my fence and my gate," she said.

Photo by Bethany Johnson, used with permission.

But for every story of love, hope, and kindness in the wake of the election — like this wedding or the rainbow fence — there is also a story of fear and concern.

Following Trump's victory, Jessica (who preferred not to use her last name) in Georgia is frightened and feverishly scraping together money and legal counsel so her wife can legally adopt their son in case their marriage is thrown out in the courts.

"We're legitimately scared for our family," she said.

It's unknown what Trump, Congress, or the Supreme Court will or won't do for LGBTQ citizens. But if the Republican platform is any indication, representatives at every level and branch may try to roll back the clock on civil rights.

Rainbow-colored lights shined on the White House to celebrate the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage June 26, 2015. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

These weddings, fears, and fences prove that we need to turn our emotions into action this year.

"We can be mad about the election or mad about things that have been said by people on both sides," Johnson said. "But that anger has to turn into some kind of positive action for all of us eventually."

It might be meeting your neighbors. It might be attending a stranger's wedding. It might be painting a fence, or volunteering in the community, or making preparations for the months to come to protect yourself and others. But mostly, it will be listening — really listening — to people who feel marginalized and left behind by the new administration.

"...If you are not a person of color, you do not get to decide what racism is. If you are not LGBTQ, you do not get to define homophobia," Sanders said. "Ask them what you can do to help. Don't make assumptions. They'll tell you what they need from you."

But what I hope we don't forget as we walk forward is the possibility of this moment in the sun.

The possibility that exists between these two men, hand in hand with the one they love most.

Photo by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York used with permission.

"Channel the negative emotions into positive change," Sanders said. "Look at your fellow man with compassion and look for every way you can help."

Sponsored

Three women, three MS journeys: How multiple sclerosis looks different for everyone

Gina, Nathalie and Helga share their reactions to being diagnosed with MS and how they stay informed and positive in the face of ever-changing symptoms.

Courtesy of Sanofi

Helga, Nathalie and Gina all have MS, and their experiences show how differently the disease can manifest.

True

It’s been 155 years since neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot gave the first lecture on a mysterious progressive illness he called “multiple sclerosis.” Since then, we’ve learned a lot. We know MS causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, including damaging the brain and spinal cord. Resulting symptoms can be debilitating and include fatigue, blurred vision, memory problems and weakness. Huge advancements in our understanding of MS and its underlying causes, as well as treatment advances, have been made in the past few decades, but MS remains a complex and unpredictable reality for the 2.8 million+ people diagnosed around the world.

Ironically, the only real constant for people living with MS is change. There’s no set pattern or standard progression of the disease, so each person’s experience is unique. Some people with MS have mild symptoms that worsen slowly but sometimes improve, while others can have severe symptoms that drastically alter their daily lives.

All people with MS share some things in common, however, such as the need to stay informed on the ever-evolving research, find various lines of support and try to remain hopeful as they continue living with the disease.

To better understand what navigating life with MS really looks like, three women shared their MS stories with us. Their journeys demonstrate how MS can look different for different people and interestingly, how the language used to talk about the disease can greatly impact how people understand their realities.

woman with horse, woman riding horseGina loves riding her horse, Benita.Courtesy of Sanofi

Gina—Hamburg, Germany (diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis in 2017)

When her youngest son was 4 months old, Gina started having problems with her eye. She’d soon learn she was experiencing optic neuritis—her first symptom of MS.

“Immediately after the diagnosis, I looked up facts on MS because I didn’t know anything about it,” Gina says. “And as soon as I knew what could really happen with this disease, I actually got scared.”

As her family’s primary income provider, she worried about how MS would impact her ability to work as a writer and editor. Her family was afraid she was going to end up in a wheelchair. However, for now, Gina’s MS is managed well enough that she still works full-time and is able to be active.

“When I tell somebody that I have MS, they often don't believe me the first time because I don't fulfill any stereotypes,” she says.

Overwhelmed by negative perspectives on living with MS, Gina sought support in the online MS community, which she found to be much more positive.

“I think it’s important to use as many positive words as you can when talking about MS.” It’s important to be realistic while also conveying hope, she says. “MS is an insidious disease that can cause many bad symptoms…that can be frightening, and you can't gloss over it, either.”

To give back to the online community that helped her so much, Gina started a blog to share her story and help others trying to learn about their diagnosis.

Though she deals with fatigue and cognitive dysfunction sometimes, Gina stays active swimming, biking, riding horses and playing with her sons, who are now 11 and 6.

Cognitive dysfunction is common in MS, with over half of people affected. It can impact memory, attention, planning, and word-finding. As with many aspects of MS, some people experience mild changes, while others face more challenges.

Gina says that while there’s still a lot of education about MS needed, she feels positive about the future of MS because there’s so much research being done.

woman in wheelchair holding medal, woman rowingNathalie is an award-winning rower with multiple international titles.Courtesy of Sanofi

Nathalie — Pennes Mirabeau, France (diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in 2002)

Nathalie was a teenager and a competitive athlete when she noticed her first symptoms of MS, but it would take four years of “limbo” before she was diagnosed.

“Ultimately, the diagnosis was more of a relief, than a shock,” she says. “Because when you have signs and you don’t know why, it’s worse than knowing, in the end, what you have.”

However, learning more about the disease—and the realities of disease progression—scared her.

“That glimpse of the future was direct and traumatic,” she says. Her neurologist explained that the disease evolves differently for everyone, and her situation might end up being serious or very mild. So, she decided to stop comparing herself to others with MS.

She said to herself, “We’ll see what happens, and you’ll manage it bit by bit.”

By 2005, Nathalie’s MS had progressed to the point of needing a wheelchair. However, that has not dampened her competitive spirit.

Nathalie began her international rowing career in 2009 and has won multiple world titles, including two Paralympic medals—silver in London and bronze in Tokyo. Now, at 42, she still trains 11 times a week. Fatigue can be a problem, and sometimes hard workouts leave her with muscle stiffness and shaking, but she credits her ongoing sports career for helping her feel in tune with her body’s signals.

“Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to my body, letting my body guide when I need to stop and take breaks,” she says.

Nathalie explains that she used to only look backwards because of the initial shock of her diagnosis. In time, she stopped thinking about what she couldn’t do anymore and focused on her future. She now lives in the following mindset: “Even when doors close, don’t miss out on those that open.” Instead of focusing on what she can’t do, she focuses on the opportunities she still has. Right now, this includes her training for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, where she will compete for another rowing medal.

“I only go forward,” she says. “Well, I try, anyway…It’s easy to say, it’s not always easy to do. But that’s what I try to do.”

woman exiting water after swimming, woman with great daneHelga's Great Dane has become a helpful and beloved companion.Courtesy of Sanofi

Helga—Johannesburg, South Africa (diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis in 2010)

When Helga first started having balance issues and numbness in her feet, she chalked it up to her training as a runner. But when the numbness moved to her face, she knew something was wrong. She never guessed it was MS.

“When I was diagnosed, I felt completely overwhelmed and clueless,” Helga says. “I felt that I had nowhere near enough information. I did not know anything about the disease…I had no idea that it was going to be a process of continually monitoring and adjusting your lifestyle.”

In the beginning, Helga’s symptoms developed slowly, and she didn’t appear ill to others. She was even able to run for a few years after her diagnosis, but she couldn’t do marathons anymore, and she began to fall frequently due to balance issues and right-foot dragging. Then her cognition issues became more problematic, especially in her job as a trainer in a printing company.

“My executive function, decision-making and short-term memory were affected to the point that I was eventually medically unfit for work,” she says. She stopped working in 2017.

However, she didn’t stop living life. Even though she could no longer run, she continued to swim competitively. She got a Great Dane puppy and trained him as a service dog to help her walk. She also serves as vice chair of the patient support organization Multiple Sclerosis South Africa, and she advises others who have been diagnosed to join a patient advocacy group as soon as possible to get reliable information and meet others with MS.

Helga says she is “hopeful” about the future of MS. “I must say that I am so grateful that we have all the new medications available, because my life would not be the same if it wasn't for that,” she adds.

Part of how she manages her MS is by looking at the positives.

“If I could tell the world one thing about MS, it would be that MS is an incurable disease of the nervous system, but it's also the greatest teacher of valuing your health, family, friends, and managing change in your life,” she says. “My life is diversified in a way that I never, ever thought it would, and MS has been honestly the greatest teacher.”

Each MS journey is unique – with each person impacted experiencing different struggles, successes, and feelings as they manage this unpredictable disease. But the common thread is clear – there is a critical need for information, support, and hope. We are proud to participate in World MS Day and share these incredible stories of living life while living with MS. To learn more about MS, go to https://www.sanofi.com/why-words-really-matter-when-it-comes-to-multiple-sclerosis.

MAT-GLB-2301642-v1.0-05/2023

This article was sponsored by Sanofi. Participants were compensated when applicable.

@geaux75/TikTok

Molly was found tied to a tree by the new owners of the house.

Molly, an adorable, affectionate 10-year-old pit bull, found herself tied to a tree after her owners had abandoned her.

According to The Dodo, Molly had “always been a loyal dog, but, unfortunately, her first family couldn’t reciprocate that same love back,” and so when the house was sold, neither Molly nor the family’s cat was chosen to move with them. While the cat was allowed to free roam outside, all Molly could do was sit and wait. Alone.

Luckily, the young couple that bought the house agreed to take the animals in as part of their closing agreement, and as soon as the papers were signed, they rushed over to check in.
Keep ReadingShow less

Little girl shocks her mom by pulling out a pocket full of worms

Kids will absolutely test all parts of your personality. Not out of malicious intent, but simply because kids are innocent and don't don't understand unspoken social rules, especially when they're very little. One of those seemingly common sense unspoken social rules is that you don't go to the nail salon with worms in your pockets.

Scratch that, you don't walk around with worms in your pocket, period. That is unless you're on a fishing boat and you're in charge of bait and you run out of room in the canister filled with worms. I mean, there are a lot of things that would have to come into play to make having worms in your pocket socially acceptable. But kids don't know that, and one little girl, Kylee Grace, gave her mom a shock after they left the nail salon one day.

In the video posted to TikTok, which has now gone mega-viral with over 11.5 million views, Kylee and her mom are walking down the sidewalk after getting their nails done. Jenae, the little girl's mom, asks her daughter if she has a worm in her pocket. Then things quickly get hilariously weird.

Keep ReadingShow less

A woman is upset with her husband and wants to leave him.

There are a few big reasons why 70% of divorces in the United States among heterosexual couples are filed by women. Women have more economic opportunities than in decades past and are better positioned to care for themselves and their children without a husband’s income.

Another big reason is that even though the world has become much more egalitarian than in the past, women still bear the brunt of most of the emotional labor in the home. Gilza Fort-Martinez, a Florida, US-based licensed couples’ therapist, told the BBC that men are socialized to have lower emotional intelligence than women, leaving their wives to do most of the emotional labor.

Secondly, studies show that women still do most of the domestic work in the home, so many are pulling double duty for their households.

Keep ReadingShow less

A Golden Retriever taking a break on the floor.

If you’re having trouble meeting a romantic partner, research shows you could improve your chances by getting a dog. A 2020 YouGov study found that 50% of Americans would be more willing to date someone if they had a dog, while only 9% would be less willing to do so.

Women are more interested in meeting someone with a dog (54%) compared to 46% of men.

People are more attracted to dog lovers for a pretty simple reason. They assume that those who have dogs are better at having long-term relationships. “People might infer that a dog-walking man knows how to form lasting attachments, has the resources to care for someone else (dog ownership is expensive!), and is reliable enough to do the daily work involved with dog ownership,” Theresa E. DiDonato Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Mom calls out 'weaponized incompetence' by flipping the script on parental expectations

Hearing a woman say these things is ridiculous, and that's the whole point.

@clarabellecwb/TikTok

Too real. Tooooo Real.

While marriages are by far much more egalitarian than they have been in decades past, many women will tell you that when it comes to emotional and domestic labor, they still take on the lion’s share of responsibility.

Many women are using TikTok to call out this imbalance, even going so far as to share how it led to them filing for divorce. As for Clare Brown, she’s opting to illuminate the issue in a more satirical way.

Brown has amassed over 400,000 followers on her TikTok account, where a major part of her schtick includes what she calls “flipping the script” on social issues. And as of late, it’s her focus on parenting expectations that has people—particularly fed up moms—nodding in agreement.

In a series titled “flipping the script on weaponized incompetence,” Brown pokes fun at fathers who remain willfully ignorant by asking their partners for help on even the most basic tasks, thus escaping the responsibility of pulling their weight.

Keep ReadingShow less

Redefining comfort: Your guide to seamless athletic leggings for women

Experience the perfect balance of comfort and style with women's seamless athletic leggings.

Editor's Note: Upworthy earns a percentage of revenue from the sale of items mentioned in this article.


In athletic wear, a good pair of leggings can make or break your workout experience. Comfort, flexibility, and style are key factors contributing to the perfect pair, and finding ones that marry these elements seamlessly can be challenging. Whether you're a yoga enthusiast, a gym-goer, or someone who values comfort in their everyday attire, these seamless leggings offer something for everyone. Dive in to discover the perfect pair that will elevate your athletic wardrobe and enhance your workout routine.

Keep ReadingShow less