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Caitlyn Jenner: 'I'm a woman.' The former world's greatest athlete comes out.

"For all intents and purposes, I'm a woman." Caitlyn Jenner opens up about a decades-long struggle with gender dysphoria.

Caitlyn Jenner: 'I'm a woman.'  The former world's greatest athlete comes out.

UPDATE 6/1/15: This post was originally published on April 24, 2015 after Jenner spoke to ABC's Diane Sawyer. It has since been up to reflect Caitlyn's name and proper pronouns as announced on the cover of Vanity Fair on June 1, 2015.

On April 24, 2015, in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Caitlyn Jenner came out as a transgender woman.

In a powerful two-hour interview, Jenner opened up about a lifetime of wrestling with a gender that never quite fit. For the first time, publicly, Jenner said the words, "For all intents and purposes, I am a woman."


On June 1, 2015, Caitlyn Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair.


Jenner has been a household name since winning the gold medal in the 1976 Olympic decathlon.

Jenner was known by many as the "greatest athlete on earth" and was one of the first people to land a spot on the front of a Wheaties box. Jenner became an American hero in such a way that only an athlete can.

And more recently, Jenner has been known for the reality TV show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

It's important to remember that this is still one person with one very unique set of personal circumstances.

Though it might be tempting to use Jenner as a template for all trans people, doing so wouldn't really be accurate. Trans people are diverse, and what one trans person pursues (medically or socially) another might pass up.

All identities are valid, whether they fit neatly inside the gender binary or not.

Jenner isn't the first public figure to come out, and while none of the people who have come before Jenner have had quite so much name recognition, they all lived openly trans lives.

Christine Jorgensen was a woman who in 1952 became one of the first American women to have undergone a transition-related surgery.

Her face was plastered alongside headlines like "Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Bombshell." Society hadn't really figured out how to talk about trans people just yet.

In 1977, trans tennis player Renée Richards won the right to compete in that year's U.S. Open.

No, she didn't dominate the tennis world. But still, her achievement is important because of the legal precedent it set.

Richards helped pave the way for trans athletes like Chris Mosier, Kye Allums, and Fallon Fox to compete.


In 2009, Chaz Bono came out as a transgender man in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.

He's the son of Cher and Sonny Bono (Holy famous family, Batman!), and prior to coming out, he worked in LGBTQ activism under his birth name. He's arguably one of the world's most famous living trans people (if not the most famous one) and was given a boost when he was cast on a season of "Dancing With the Stars."

Laverne Cox has been on an absolutely meteoric rise to fame.

She was nominated for an Emmy for her role on "Orange Is the New Black," she's the first out trans person to appear on the cover of Time magazine, and she was just named one of People magazine's most beautiful people for 2015!

Her trailblazing ways are opening doors for other trans actors and actresses.

Laura Jane Grace shocked her fan base when she came out during a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone.

For years, she's been the primary singer/songwriter for the band Against Me! and at the age of 32, she came out as a woman. The following year, she and her band released "Transgender Dysphoria Blues," an album of songs with heavy trans overtones.

Every day, it seems like fresh new trans faces are popping up, doing awesome things.

Like Aydian Dowling, a trans man hoping to land on the cover of Men's Health.

Or Jazz Jennings, a trans author, soon-to-be TV star, and model.


Each person has their own path, their own story, and their own life. As you can tell from the list above, those people come from a range of backgrounds, hold a range of political views, and relate to their gender in their own unique way.

This is why invasive personal questions don't really tell the person asking much about trans people as a whole.

*ahem*

So, if this is all stuff that shows how different trans people are from one another, what do we know about them?

For one, we know that trans people who are accepted by their families tend to lead a significantly better life.

One of the biggest fears that many trans people face as they're coming to terms with who they are is that their families will reject them.

According to data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, trans people who were accepted by family members were less likely to smoke or abuse drugs and alcohol, less likely to attempt suicide, less likely to have been incarcerated, less likely to have to engage in survival sex work, and significantly less likely to have experienced homelessness.

Now, obviously, there's no telling whether acceptance actually causes those improved circumstances. But those numbers are nothing to scoff at. Acceptance can (and likely does) save lives.

We also know that knowing a trans person increases the likelihood that someone will support trans causes.

This is why visibility is so important! It's less easy to discriminate against someone when you know them.


We know that transition-related health care isn't "cosmetic."

Several health organizations, such as the American Medical Association, have made their stance on trans-related health care clear: It's not elective.

Those who seek it need it.


It's important to remember that there is no "right" way to be transgender.

The boy who knows who he is at age 5 is just as valid as the woman who comes out publicly in her early 30s.

As you can see on the chart below, people figure themselves out at various ages, and they pursue transition — whether it's medical, social, both, or neither — at different ages.

Validity has nothing to do with age.

("MTF" stands for "male-to-female," a term sometimes used to describe transgender women; "FTM" stands for, you guessed it, "female-to-male," a term sometimes used to describe transgender men.)


Validity has nothing to do with medical procedures.

For those who do pursue medical transition — which is to say that they plan to undergo some combination of hormone therapy and/or surgery — the age at which they begin to do so ranges as well (and as you'll note, some don't even want/need it).

62% of trans people surveyed have had hormone therapy, and 23% would like to have it, which leaves 15% of all trans people either uninterested or unable to go on.

Validity has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

And trans people are extremely diverse when it comes to their sexual orientation. (Reminder: Sexual orientation and gender identity are two very separate characteristics.) Check it out:

Congratulations to Caitlyn Jenner for opening up about such a personal issue. May the coming years result in a better understanding of trans individuals, a less hostile world, and respect all around.


Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
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Growing up in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan always loved the ocean. It's why she decided to study marine biology. But the more she learned, the more she realized that it wasn't enough to work in the ocean. She needed to protect it.

"I see the ocean ecosystem collapsing due to overfishing and climate change," she says. "I felt powerless and didn't know what to do [so] I decided to pursue my master's in environmental management."

This choice led her to work in environmental protection, and it was fate that brought her back home to the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia — one of the last places on earth where species such as tigers, orangutans, elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros still live in the wild today. It's also home to over 300 species of birds, eight of which are endemic to the region.

"When I first flew over the Leuser Ecosystem, I saw an intact landscape, a contiguous block of lush, diverse vegetation stretched through hills and valleys. The Leuser is truly a majestic landscape — one of a kind."

She fell in love. "I had my first orangutan encounter in the Leuser Ecosystem," she remembers. "As the baby orangutan swung from the branches, seemingly playing and having fun, the mother was observing us. I was moved by the experience."

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

"Over the years," she continues, "the encounters with wildlife, with people, and with the ecosystem itself compounded. My curiosity and interest towards nature have turned into a deep desire to protect this biodiversity."

So, she began working for a government agency tasked to protect it. After the agency dismantled for political reasons in the country, Farhan decided to create the HAkA Foundation.

"The goals [of HAkA] are to protect, conserve and restore the Leuser Ecosystem while at the same time catalyzing and enabling just economic prosperity for the region," she says.

"Wild areas and wild places are rare these days," she continues. "We think gold and diamonds are rare and therefore valuable assets, but wild places and forests, like the Leuser Ecosystems, are the kind of natural assets that essentially provide us with life-sustaining services."

"The rivers that flow through the forest of the Leuser Ecosystem are not too dissimilar to the blood that flows through our veins. It might sound extreme, but tell me — can anyone live without water?"

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

So far, HAkA has done a lot of work to protect the region. The organization played a key role in strengthening laws that bring the palm oil companies that burn forests to justice. In fact, their involvement led to an unprecedented, first-of-its-kind court decision that fined one company close to $26 million.

In addition, HAkA helped thwart destructive infrastructure plans that would have damaged critical habitat for the Sumatran elephants and rhinos. They're working to prevent mining destruction by helping communities develop alternative livelihoods that don't damage the forests. They've also trained hundreds of police and government rangers to monitor deforestation, helping to establish the first women ranger teams in the region.

"We have supported multiple villages to create local regulation on river and land protection, effectively empowering communities to regain ownership over their environment."

She is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to the Ecosystem Impact Foundation. The small local foundation is working to protect some of the last remaining habitats of the critically endangered leatherback turtle that lives on the west coast of Sumatra.

"The funds will help the organization keep their ranger employed so they can continue protecting the islands, endangered birds and sea turtle habitats," she says.

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Do you know an inspiring woman like Farwiza? Nominate her today!

Photo by Vanessa Garcia from Pexels

A professor's message to students has gone viral.

If you know any teachers, you probably know how utterly exhausted they all are, from preschools all the way up through college. Pandemic schooling has been rough, to say the least, and teachers have borne the brunt of the impact it's had on students.

Most teachers I've known have bent over backwards to help students succeed during this time, taking kids' mental and emotional health into consideration and extending the flexibility and grace we all could use. But teachers have their own mental and emotional needs, too, and at some point, something's gotta give.

A college student posted screenshots of a professor's message on Twitter with the comment "someone PLEASE check on my professor." It's simply incredible.

The message reads:

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Courtesy of Ms. Lopez
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Marcella Lopez didn't always want to be a teacher — but once she became one, she found her passion. That's why she's stayed in the profession for 23 years, spending the past 16 at her current school in Los Angeles, where she mostly teaches children of color.

"I wanted purpose, to give back, to live a life of public service, to light the spark in others to think critically and to be kind human beings," she says. "More importantly, I wanted my students to see themselves when they saw me, to believe they could do it too."

Ms. Lopez didn't encounter a teacher of color until college. "That moment was life-changing for me," she recalls. "It was the first time I felt comfortable in my own skin as a student. Always remembering how I felt in that college class many years ago has kept me grounded year after year."

It's also guided her teaching. Ms. Lopez says she always selects authors and characters that represent her students and celebrate other ethnicities so students can relate to what they read while also learning about other cultures.

"I want them to see themselves in the books they read, respect those that may not look like them and realize they may have lots in common with [other cultures] they read about," she says.

She also wants her students to have a different experience in school than she did.

When Ms. Lopez was in first grade, she "was speaking in Spanish to a new student, showing her where the restroom was when a staff member overheard our conversation and directed me to not speak in Spanish," she recalls. "In 'this school,' we only speak English," she remembers them saying. "From that day forward, I was made to feel less-than and embarrassed to speak the language of my family, my ancestors; the language I learned to speak first."

Part of her job, she says, is to find new ways to promote acceptance and inclusion in her classroom.

"The worldwide movement around social justice following the death of George Floyd amplified my duty as a teacher to learn how to discuss racial equity in a way that made sense to my little learners," she says. "It ignited me to help them see themselves in a positive light, to make our classroom family feel more inclusive, and make our classroom a safe place to have authentic conversations."

One way she did that was by raising money through DonorsChoose to purchase books and other materials for her classroom that feature diverse perspectives.

Courtesy of Ms. Lopez

The Allstate Foundation recently partnered with DonorsChoose to create a Racial Justice and Representation category to encourage teachers like Ms. Lopez to create projects that address racial equity in the classroom. To launch the category, The Allstate Foundation matched all donations to these projects for a total of $1.5 million. Together, they hope to drive awareness and funding to projects that bring diversity, inclusion, and identity-affirming learning materials into classrooms across the country. You can see current projects seeking funding here.

When Ms. Lopez wanted to incorporate inclusive coloring books into her lesson plans, The Allstate Foundation fully funded her project so she was able to purchase them.

"I'm a lifelong learner, striving to be my best version of myself and always working to inspire my little learners to do the same," she says. Each week, Ms. Lopez and the students would focus on a page in the book and discuss its message. And she plans to do the same again this school year.

"DonorsChoose has been a gamechanger for my students. Without the support of all the donors that come together on this platform, we wouldn't have a sliver of what I've been able to provide for my students, especially during the pandemic," she says.

"My passion is to continue striving to be excellent, and to continue to find ways to use literature as an anchor, depicting images that reflect my students," she says.

To help teachers like Ms. Lopez drive this important mission forward, donate on DonorsChoose.

Courtesy of Ms. Lopez

Looking for some good gift ideas that wont break the bank? We've got you covered with these five suggestions available at our very own Upworthy Market! You can feel good about your purchases, too. That's because every item you buy from the Upworthy Market directly supports the artisans who crafted it.


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A grandmother and grandchild.

via PixaBay For the past 55 years, scientists have theorized that a major reason why humans live so much longer past their reproductive years than other species is because of grandmothers.

The "grandmother effect" as it's known postulates that in hunter-gatherer societies, grandmothers played a vital role in finding food and raising children. In fact, the grandmother's role was so important that it had a huge impact on whether or not children survived.

"By relieving a mother of some of her child-raising responsibilities, so the thinking goes, grandmothers make it easier for their daughters to have more children and also make it possible for those children to have longer lives by helping them during the difficult early years of life," Haider J. Warraich writes in Stat.

Two studies further this hypothesis by showing the important roles that grandmothers have in the survival of their grandchildren. A study of birth and death records in Finland for individuals born between 1731 and 1890 found that having a maternal grandmother between the ages of 50 and 75 increased a child's survival rate.

Another study found that proximity to grandmother matters, too. The shorter the distance between grandmother and grandchild, the more involved the grandmother can be and the more benefits that accrue to her daughter and grandchildren.

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