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BYU student protests school's LGBTQ policy by revealing a rainbow flag in her graduation gown

Bisexual BYU graduate shows her true colors at ceremony.

New graduate Jillian Orr sent a strong message to underclassmen coming up behind her at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Orr was there to receive her degree in psychology, and for the first time since being a student at the Y she decided to share her truth while also protesting against the school’s LGBTQ policies. Orr had sewn a rainbow flag into her graduation gown and as she walked across the stage to receive her degree, she opened her gown revealing the flag to the audience and cameras.

A private research university, BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the school restricts LGBTQ+ students from dating or showing signs of affection toward a same sex partner while enrolled. Students risk being disenrolled from the university for violating this policy, which also allows other students to report same sex dating to the school. For Orr, this wasn’t something that directly affected her until about halfway through her time there when she came to realize that she was bisexual.


The psychology student grew up in the Mormon Church and completed an 18-month mission trip in Oregon, but things changed when she was honest with herself about her feelings. Orr told TODAY “I started to realize my actions and beliefs were not lining up and there was a lot of preconditioned shame and guilt around it, but I came to the realization that this is who I was and it was beautiful.”

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BYU’s policy on LGBTQ students is written in its honor code, where showing homosexual inclination is deemed as dishonorable. Students who desire to express who they are in a school environment are not doing so to bring any sort of dishonor, because being a part of the LGBTQ+ community isn’t dishonorable. Being able to show affection to your partner while walking to class or frequenting a campus hangout shouldn’t evoke feelings of fear or shame, but policies such as these cause students to hide their true selves giving them no place to feel truly safe. Private universities and schools are able to set their own policies and it’s typically up to the students and their families to decide if their policies align with what they would like to follow, but it makes you stop to wonder about the kids who don’t feel safe enough to come out at home, which can happen for many reasons.

People who grow up in strictly religious households may hold more shame and fear coupled with a lack of support at home and within their friend group around their sexual orientation. This can lead to depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation, but the fear around coming out may keep them attending institutions that are in direct contrast of who they are as a person. While this doesn’t appear to be Orr’s case, her daring to show an LGBT pride flag while crossing the stage was a clear nod to other students letting them know that they can make it through being authentically themselves.

Orr told TODAY, “I hope that they recognize that the sooner they live their life authentically, the sooner they can tap into true happiness,” she said. “The faster you do the scary thing, the sooner you can be free.” Orr said she hopes that students at the school who are hiding their sexual orientation will feel less alone by seeing her bold act.

If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255) or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line: 741741.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


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A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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