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For the first time ever, a transgender woman addressed the DNC.

Sarah McBride's tireless work earned her a spot on a national stage to share an important message.

For the first time ever, a transgender woman addressed the DNC.

Just four short years ago, American University's then-student government president Sarah McBride came out as transgender in an editorial for the school's newspaper.

"With every birthday candle extinguished, with every penny thrown, my wish was always the same," she wrote. "I am now blessed with the opportunity to live my dream and fulfill a truth I have known since childhood. My gratitude is great to my family, friends and this university for accepting me as the person who they now know me to be, and for letting me show them the possibilities of a life well lived."

From that day forward, she committed herself to making the world a better, fairer place for LGBTQ people.


LGBT rights activist Sarah McBride and co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, at the Democratic National Convention on July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

McBride was set on pursuing a career pushing to create a more just society through public policy — if she still could. She was scared.

"When I came out, I think like most folks, I was really scared," she told me earlier this week by phone. "I was worried that my professional career would be over and that my hopes and my dreams wouldn't be able to coexist with who I am."

Before coming out, she had worked for Delaware Governor Jack Markell and former state Attorney General Beau Biden. Still, she worried that being trans would stand in the way of a successful career. All she could do was work hard and hope for the best.

Senator Al Franken and Sarah McBride attend the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Gala on March 14, 2015. Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Human Rights Campaign.

After college — and after coming out — McBride got a job at the Center for American Progress and became the first openly trans woman to intern at the White House. She's currently the National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest LGBTQ rights organization.

Pretty impressive resume, right? And she's just getting started.

On Thursday, July 28, 2016, Sarah again made history, becoming the first transgender person to speak at a major political party's nominating convention.

Working together with the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's team, the Congressional LGBT caucus set aside a speaking spot for someone to advocate on behalf of trans rights. A powerful, media-savvy public speaker, McBride was a clear choice.


GIFs from PBS Newshour/YouTube.

During her speech, Sarah spoke about her own background and also the impact her husband Andy had on her activism.

"For me, this struggle for equality became all the more urgent when I learned that my future husband, Andrew, was battling cancer," she told the crowd. "I met Andy, who was a transgender man, fighting for equality, and we fell in love. And even in the face of his terminal illness, this 28-year-old, he never wavered in his commitment to our cause and his belief that this country can change. We married in 2014, and just four days after our wedding, he passed away."


"Knowing Andy left me profoundly changed," she continued. "More than anything, his passing taught me that every day matters when it comes to building a world where every person can live their life to the fullest."

McBride's message couldn't come at a better time. With trans rights coming to the forefront of politics this election cycle, voices like hers are more important than ever.

While LGBTQ rights have taken leaps forward over the past few years, gaining rights for transgender people has been a slower process.

Certain states, like North Carolina, have instituted outright anti-trans laws that have harmed and dehumanized trans people. Others have joined in lawsuits against the federal government's trans-inclusive interpretation of Title IX. All the while, the rate of violence against trans people — especially trans women of color — remains much too high, while this community is simultaneously at an economic disadvantage.

In other words, it's rough out there, and this election is going to be really important, especially for the trans community.

While the Republican party has committed to what's been called the most anti-LGBTQ platform in the party's history, the Democratic party has pledged to stand firm on rights for this group. Many issues — such as that North Carolina law — are likely to be determined in the federal and Supreme courts. Others — such as employment, housing, and public accommodations protections — exist in the form of legislation that will need to make it through Congress.

As a country, we've reached a crossroads. Do we want to be a nation that simply accepts discrimination as a reality? Or do we want to stand for the rights of all citizens, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or country of origin?

On July 28, 2016, Sarah McBride made history. Hopefully soon it will no longer be considered notable for a trans person to address crowds at conventions like this.

Being 1 out of 133 speakers at the DNC means that trans people were represented at the convention (0.75%) at roughly the same rate they exist in the world (an estimated 0.6% of the population).

By focusing on inclusion and representation, we can be assured that all Americans, no matter how small their group, have a voice in our society.

Watch Sarah McBride's powerful DNC speech below.


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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

"Toy Story 2" got deleted and backups weren't working. Whoops.

A newborn baby saving an entire animated film production from unprecedented disaster? Sounds a bit like the plot of a Pixar short, doesn't it?

Something (sort of) like that actually did happen during the making of "Toy Story 2." (There are a several retellings of the story out there, from an in-depth interview on The Next Web to the simplified, animated version in the "Toy Story 2" extras shown below.)

Here's a basic rundown of what happened:

The film was well underway when an unnamed Pixar employee who was trying to delete unneeded files accidentally applied the "remove" command to the root files of the film. Suddenly, things started disappearing. Woody's hat. Then his boots. Then Woody himself.

Pixar folks watched characters and sequences disappear in front of their eyes. Obviously, this was … not good.

Oren Jacob, the associate technical director of the film, got on the horn to the systems crew with a panicked "Pull the plug!" They did. Were they able to stop the bleed? Nope, 90% of the movie was gone. Surely there was a backup system, though, right?

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!