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Ash Beckham gives a great TED Talk about the often contradictory, dual identities we all have.

There are times in life that we're called out to choose a side, to definitively declare that we are One Thing or The Other, without any room for nuance or discussion. But the world we live in isn't so black and white.

Ash Beckham was accompanying her niece to a special autograph session with Anna and Elsa from "Frozen"...

This is Ash, eloquently describing the decor at the event. GIF via TEDxBoulder.


...when one of the staffers mistakenly referred to Ash as a man — right as they reached the front of line.

GIFs from "Frozen."

In that moment, Ash was faced with a decision.

Should she speak up as an advocate and say, “Hey, man, I'm actually a woman?" at the risk of ruining her niece's special day?

Should she just stay silent, be an aunt, and let her niece meet her animated idols without causing a scene?

Why does it have to be one and not the other?

Why are those the only two options? In her everyday life, she's both an ally and an aunt, among many other things. Why should she be forced to choose only one side of herself?

In this talk from TEDxBoulder, Ash discusses dualism — the idea that people are complicated and often hold contradicting identities.

Dualism is the state of having two parts in simultaneous existence, of seeing more complexity than "with us" or "against us." It's a refreshing perspective for our increasingly polarized world. Humans are multifaceted beings, full of contradictions and complications. But society is constantly telling us that we have to pick a side.

As Ash herself says about five minutes into her talk:

"Are you unequivocally and without question anti-war, pro-choice, anti-death penalty, pro-gun regulation, proponent of open borders, and pro-union? Or are you absolutely and uncompromisingly pro-war, pro-life, pro-death penalty, a believer that the Second Amendment is absolute, anti-immigrant, and pro-business?

a bunc

GIF set via TEDxBoulder.

Of course, owning our own duality also means letting others do the same.

If we accept that we all contain multitudes, then we should be able to approach one another with empathy, understanding, and respect. Someone who holds one belief in opposition to your own is not necessarily evil and doesn't necessarily disagree with you on every single thing. In fact, you might find some surprising common ground.

Just as Ash was able to simultaneously embrace the roles of aunt and advocate, the staffer who mis-gendered her should be allowed his own set of internal complications. Which is more likely: that he was coming from a place of malicious intent or that he was simply mistaken, out of ignorance or accident.

In the end, Ash decided not to speak up because she didn't want to make a scene during her niece's happy moment.

But deciding not to speak up doesn't make her any less of an activist or ally — it just makes her human.

Frozen Olaf melting not right this second

As for the staffer, it didn't take long for him to realize his error, and he even apologized without interrupting the autograph session.

And of course, Ash's niece got to meet Anna and Elsa and make one of the happiest memories of her young life, all thanks to her aunt.

Watch Ash's full TED Talk on duality below:

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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