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Teenager makes history as Orlando's first transgender homecoming queen

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.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Image shared by Madalyn Parker

Madalyn shared with her colleagues about her own mental health.






Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.


Parker lives with depression. And, she says, staying on top of her mental health is absolutely crucial.

"The bottom line is that mental health is health," she says over email. "My depression stops me from being productive at my job the same way a broken hand would slow me down since I wouldn't be able to type very well."

work emails, depression, office emails, community

Madalyn Parker was honest with her colleagues about her situation.

Photo courtesy Madalyn Parker.

She sent an email to her colleagues, telling them the honest reason why she was taking the time off.

"Hopefully," she wrote to them, "I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%."

Soon after the message was sent, the CEO of Parker's company wrote back:

"Hey Madalyn,

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health — I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work."

Moved by her CEO's response, Parker posted the email exchange to Twitter.

The tweet, published on June 30, 2017, has since gone viral, amassing 45,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

"It's nice to see some warm, fuzzy feelings pass around the internet for once," Parker says of the response to her tweet. "I've been absolutely blown away by the magnitude though. I didn't expect so much attention!"

Even more impressive than the tweet's reach, however, were the heartfelt responses it got.

"Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am," wrote one person, who opened up about living with panic attacks. "That is bloody incredible," chimed in another. "What a fantastic CEO you have."

Some users, however, questioned why there needs to be a difference between vacation time and sick days; after all, one asked, aren't vacations intended to improve our mental well-being?

That ignores an important distinction, Parker said — both in how we perceive sick days and vacation days and in how that time away from work is actually being spent.

"I took an entire month off to do partial hospitalization last summer and that was sick leave," she wrote back. "I still felt like I could use vacation time because I didn't use it and it's a separate concept."

Many users were astounded that a CEO would be that understanding of an employee's mental health needs.

They were even more surprised that the CEO thanked her for sharing her personal experience with caring for her mental health.

After all, there's still a great amount of stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, which keeps many of us from speaking up to our colleagues when we need help or need a break to focus on ourselves. We fear being seen as "weak" or less committed to our work. We might even fear losing our job.

Ben Congleton, the CEO of Parker's company, Olark, even joined the conversation himself.

In a blog post on Medium, Congleton wrote about the need for more business leaders to prioritize paid sick leave, fight to curb the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace, and see their employees as people first.

"It's 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance," Congleton wrote. "When an athlete is injured, they sit on the bench and recover. Let's get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."


This article originally appeared on 07.11.17

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Brielle Asero lost her job after 2 months.

TikTokker Brielle Asero, 21, a recent college graduate, went viral on TikTok in October for her emotional reaction to the first day at a 9-to-5 job. The video, which received 3.4 million views, captured the public’s attention because it was like a cultural Rorschach test.

Some who saw the video thought that Asero came off as entitled and exemplified the younger generation’s lack of work ethic. In contrast, others sympathized with the young woman who is just beginning to understand how hard it is to find work-life balance in modern-day America.

“I’m so upset,” she says in the video. "I get on the train at 7:30 a.m., and I don't get home until 6:15 p.m. [at the] earliest. I don't have time to do anything!" Asero said in a video.


“I don’t have the time to do anything,” she continued. “I want to shower, eat my dinner, and go to sleep. I don’t have the time or energy to cook my dinner either. I don’t have energy to work out, like, that’s out of the window. I’m so upset, oh my god.”

@brielleybelly123

im also getting sick leave me alone im emotional ok i feel 12 and im scared of not having time to live

On December 16, Asero gave an update on her professional life, and sadly, things aren’t going too well. After just 2 months on the job, she was laid off. It had taken her 5 months to find the job and she had recently relocated to New York City to be near the office.

"I worked for a startup, and they didn't have the workload or the bandwidth they needed to train me and to give me work to do," she said. Being laid off during the holidays makes Asero's situation even more difficult because most employers are closed for business in late December and early January.

Asero had some stern words for those who would blame her for losing her job.

"I know that I'm a hard worker, and my boss literally said that I'm one of the smartest people he's ever had working under him, and he knows that I'm going to land on my feet, and he will give me a great referral to anybody, so don't start," she warned.

@brielleybelly123

can someone tell me im going to be okay !!!! feels like the world is ending i need a job immediatley i am feeling so lost rn like i moved for this...!?

"I have done everything I possibly could have, and it's still not enough," she said. To supplement her income while looking for her next big break, Asero says she will look for work as a server or nanny.

Even though Asero took a lot of criticism for crying after her first day at work, the comments on the new video were overwhelmingly positive and supportive. There were also a lot of people who shared how they had recently been laid off, too.

"Just want to note that there’s no shame in taking a service job while you’re still looking. You’re going to be okay, you got this," Baby bel wrote. "It happened to me, seems like ur life is ending, but I promise it's just getting started. You’ll laugh about it at some point," Rachie added.


This article originally appeared on 12.22.23












Millennial shares 'proof' they're not aging as quickly as Gen Z




Millennials and Gen Z truly have a sibling kind of relationship. They take turns teasing each other but in the end it's nothing but love between the two generations. In recent months people were taunting Gen Z about their looks saying that they age like milk and several from that generation agreed that people often mistake them for much older than they are.

Well, it seems Gen Z is back with their own commentary about how poorly Millennials age but instead of the older sibling in this rivalry conceding to the point, they dispute it...with receipts. Ouch, this one probably stings a bit. Chris Bautista uploaded a video response to TikTok addressing the young whippersnappers telling Millennials they look old to explain why they feel that way.

The answer is quite simple. Millennials set the bar for what aging looks like for people approaching middle age according to Bautista.


"I'm gonna say this a little bit louder for the Gen Zers in the back that didn't hear me the last time. Millennials look fantastic for our age and you cannot tell us otherwise," Bautista starts. "The reason why you think we don't look great for our ages is because we have set the new standard of what it looks like to age."

Then he pulls out receipts. Pictures of celebrities who were the age Millennials are right now when the pictures were taken. Yikes! Most Millennials look no where near the age of the people in the pictures, but maybe the camera added 10 years?

Watch the video:

@bautistud This needs to be said for millenials 🫡 #millennialsoftiktok #genzvsmillenial #aging ♬ original sound - Chris Bautista

"It's cause all millennials used the St. Ives peach scrub exfoliating wash and we achieved eternal youth," someone surmises.

"It's gotta be the Flintstone vitamins," another guesses.

"I don't know, I am 40 and got stopped at my son's high school security guard because he thought I was a student. No one ever believes my age," one person writes.

"But seriously like what's the reason? Cause this life has been stressful," someone else asks.

So is Gen Z really aging poorly or did Millennials get some weird radioactive Flintstone vitamins laced with asbestos that is causing their cells to age slower? The world may never know but hopefully these two generations forever keep the sibling banter alive.

Family

Single dad receives letter from late wife and immediately gets a DNA test

"She wrote a letter for me before she died, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it until now."

A devastated man sitting by the ocean.

Ten months after a man’s wife passed away, he finally got the courage to read a letter she left him, which contained a devastating admission. The 4-year-old son they had together may not be his.

“My ‘darling’ wife passed away 10 months ago,” the man wrote on Reddit’s Off My Chest forum. “She wrote a letter for me before she died, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it until now. She told me how sorry she was that she didn’t have the guts to tell me this to my face when she was alive.”

In the letter, the wife revealed that there was a “good chance” that the son he thought was his wasn’t his biological child. A few weeks before their wedding day, the wife got drunk at her bachelorette party and had a one-night stand with another man. Soon after that night, she became pregnant but was unsure who the father was.



The man was torn whether or not to have the paternity test done. The child had only one parent in this world, and he would have to take care of him regardless. He also thought it was cowardly that his former wife would wait until she was no longer around to share the truth with him.

dads, dna test, paternity test

A father and son playing with a train.

via Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels

“So she thought she’d rather drop this bomb on my life when I could no longer confront her about it,” the man wrote. “Now that my son would only have one parent looking out for him, and she’d have no idea how I would even react. Maybe I should not have got the paternity test done. Maybe it might be better to live in ignorance. But I just had to know.”

The man took the paternity test and learned he wasn’t the child’s biological father.

“I’m devastated. This doesn’t change how I feel about my son,” he wrote. “He’s my whole world and he’s innocent. But boy, does it hurt. There’s so much going on in my head right now. I haven’t stopped crying. Thank god my son is at my parents' place for the day. I’d hate for him to see me like this.”

Facing a pain nearly too much for him to bear, the only outlet he had at the moment was reaching out to Reddit to find some solace. “I just needed to let this all out. Don’t have it in me to tell anyone in my life about this right now,” he wrote.

The commenters send him hundreds of messages of support to get him through the shock of first learning the truth about his family.

dna test, paterneity test, sad dad

A depressed man sit on the couch.

via Alena Darmel/Pexels

The most popular message was straightforward and honest. "All your feelings are valid, a lot of people will react with some kind of toxic positivity to things like these. Your feelings are valid. Each and everyone," femunndsmarka wrote.

Another commenter added that someday, his son will appreciate how he stepped up and did what was right in a very trying circumstance. “He is going to find out the truth one day. Imagine how much more he will love you knowing you didn’t leave him, even though he wasn’t yours,” ImNotGoodatThis6969.

Another commenter provided valuable insight from the son’s perspective.

"As an adopted child, I just want to thank you on behalf of your son. I deeply believe it changes nothing, family is not about blood, its about who you love, want to have by your side, and care for the most. Sending hugs, strength and gratitude," Mariuuq wrote.

The father at the heart of this story is understandably devastated because his life was upended almost overnight. But the hope in the story is that his trials also taught him a powerful truth—his love for his son goes much deeper than blood.


This article originally appeared on 9.28.23




Family

Younger generations are torn over inheriting boomer heirlooms. Here are 4 helpful tips.

The generational divide on this front is a big one, but there are better and worse ways to navigate it.

There are kind and gentle ways to handle hand-me-downs.


As the baby boomer generation reaches their "golden years," many of them are starting to think about what to do with their earthly possessions, much to the chagrin of some of their Gen X, millennial and Gen Z descendants.

How many of us really want to take over our grandma's collection of dolls or plates when we have no interest in collecting ourselves? How many people have homes filled with furniture we actually like, only to be offered antiques and heirlooms that we have neither the desire nor room for? What about china sets, artwork and other things our elders have loved that they want to see passed down in the family that no one in the family really wants?


It's a delicate road to navigate, as a post on X illustrated. Jodi-Ann Quarrie shared a screenshot of a story a man shared about his wife fighting with his mother-in-law about the china sets she wanted her children to have. She had four adult children and four sets of china for them to divvy amongst themselves, but all four kids refused. An argument ensued about how none of the china had ever been used, even on special occasions, and culminated in the wife telling the mother-in-law that she was going to use the plates as frisbees after she dies.

People's reactions to the story were mixed. Some pointed out that there's no reason for someone to say something so cruel to a family member (or anyone, for that matter). Others felt that the mother-in-law was being unreasonable by not accepting no for an answer.

Extreme as the story may have been, there is a clear generational divide between the post-Depression era folks who think passing down heirlooms is generous and the generations that are accustomed to replacing things every few years because of planned obsolescence. There is also a divide between people who attach their life story to their belongings to the point that if their things aren't valued then neither are they, and people who don't tie memories or sentimentality to material things at all.

How do we bridge these divides? Each family dynamic and situation is different, of course, but here are four principles to keep in mind if you're on the receiving end of an heirloom offer you don't really want.

1) Don't diminish the value—either monetary or sentimental—of what an elder is offering.

These things may mean nothing to you, but they obviously mean something to the person who wants you to have. There's no need to hurt their feelings by being brazen about how their outdated furniture isn't really worth anything anymore or to point out that you have no emotional attachment to it. That all might be true, but is it necessary to share that with someone who is nearing the end of their life and feeling sentimental? No. It doesn't meant you have to take it, either, but a little empathy, even if it's not how you would feel about your own belongings, goes a long way.

2) If they're trying to give you something now and you really don't want it or have room for it, offer alternatives.

It's perfectly reasonable to tell a loved one that on a practical level you simply don't have the space for something. What the person usually wants is to know that a piece of them is going to be carried on as a physical memory and proof of their existence, so offer them a way to do that in a way that works for you.

Try something like this: "I would love to have something of yours that is meaningful that we can pass down, but we already have all the furniture we are able to manage—is there something like a piece of jewelry or a photo album or something else that we could pick out together as an heirloom for our side of the family?"

3) Be kind about their wishes while they're still here.

It's not easy getting older, and people's feelings about their life and death are worthy of consideration and compassion. If it brings an older person joy to see belongings they value being passed down while they're still alive, it might be worth letting them have that joy. Again, they might just want to know that their memory is going to live on.

It's difficult for us to imagine what it's like to be old when we're young, but it's not too hard to understand the desire to be remembered. That desire manifests differently for different people. Kindness can look like taking the items with gratitude and waiting until they pass away to give them away. It can also be gently refusing them for now, telling them it makes you happy to see them enjoying their things, and reassuring them that you'll make sure their items are taken care of when they're no longer here. (Taking care of doesn't mean keeping, but they don't necessarily need to know that detail. Honesty must be balanced with tact and thoughtfulness here.)

4) You are not obligated to hold onto something someone gave you, especially after they are gone. (But also, stay open to the idea that you might want to.)

No one is obligated to hold onto anything they don't really want. You also don't have to tell the person that you're not planning to keep their stuff—let them be at peace about it while they're here. It's perfectly okay to let go of their material things after they're gone. It's highly unlikely that they're going to care at that point.

However, it's also wise to stay open to the idea that you might actually want some of the things a loved one gives you after they pass. We never know how grief and loss are going to impact us, regardless of our relationship with someone, and sometimes people regret getting rid of all of their family members' belongings too quickly. It might be wise to just say yes to some things for now (if you are able to) and then decide what to do with them later.

Again, every situation is different, so these principles may or may not apply perfectly to your own circumstances, but the central message is to be kind and compassionate. We all have a limited amount of time here that shouldn't be wasted fighting over material things.


This article originally appeared on 4.6.24