Teenager makes history as Orlando's first transgender homecoming queen

For 17-year-old Evan Bialosuknia, winning the crown of homecoming queen was more than a simple award. It meant being accepted, even celebrated, for who she truly is.

Sharing her journey in an interview with WESH2, Evan revealed she had only begun her transition a few months ago. But for her, it was the obvious choice. "Looking back it doesn't even feel like that's me," she said. "I played football for like six to eight years and I remember during practices I would stare at the cheerleaders because I wanted to be with them."

Evan didn't quite know what to expect when she decided to run for homecoming queen. Despite having the love and support from her family, the teenager was afraid to be seen as a joke. And yet, she still desired to have "a moment of glory."

And indeed her glorious moment arrived, as she received not only the coveted crown, but an outpouring of encouragement from her fellow students. Including the school's nominated homecoming king, who, according to Evan, "made me feel like any other girl." More so than the thrill of a win and excitement of applause, the real gift, according to Bialosuknia, was the welcome embrace from her community. As she put it, "It just made me realize I was not alone and don't have to go through this alone."

Evan proudly posted pictures of her win on Instagram. And it's a collective victory for LGBTQ teens everywhere.

For transgender teens that are still suffering against discrimination, stories like Evan's help provide comfort against the struggle.

And hers is not the only story like this. There is an increasing number of students challenging the status quo of homecoming tradition, including the election of gay prom kings and queens, as well as some schools doing away with gendered homecoming titles altogether. And most reassuring of all, nearly half of the entire Gen Z population openly support gay marriage, with one in six Gen Z'ers publicly identifying as something other than heterosexual. Though there is still much progress to be made in the name of inclusion, this data does tell us one thing: no one is alone.

The crowning achievement marked a brighter outlook for Evan's future. Though she noted that "more change is coming," she will always have this memory to look back on, to remind her that she belongs. Exactly as she is.

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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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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