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John Cho's recent announcement that Sulu will be gay in "Star Trek: Beyond" predictably set the Internet on fire.

Photo from "Star Trek: Beyond"/Paramount Pictures.


According to Cho, the decision was made, in part, as a tribute to George Takei, the openly gay actor and LGBT rights activist who played the character in the original series.

The actor revealed that Sulu's relationship with his partner — with whom he has a daughter — would be treated as any other relationship in the film and essentially be "no big deal."

Lots of fans were thrilled.



But the announcement about Sulu's sexual orientation had a surprise critic: Takei himself.

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

"I’m delighted that there’s a gay character," Takei told The Hollywood Reporter. "Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene [Roddenberry’s] creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate."

Takei explained that he believed that while "Star Trek" is ready for a gay main cast member, the decision to depict Sulu's same-sex relationship in a prequel recasts the Enterprise helmsman as closeted in the original series.

Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the screenplay, responded in The Guardian to "respectfully disagree" with Takei.

Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images.

"Justin Lin, Doug Jung and I loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice," Pegg said in a statement.

"Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic."

One fan who was particularly excited by the news was Dan Wohl, a California graduate student who asked for exactly this move in a 2013 essay published on The Mary Sue.

"J.J. Abrams, if you’re listening, I think you should make Sulu gay," Wohl wrote.

Giving Sulu a same-sex partner, Wohl argued — and treating their relationship as simply something that is — would not only be a moving tribute to Takei's life and work, but help begin to correct "complicated but ultimately disappointing history" of mostly ignoring LGBT themes and characters on "Star Trek."

Wohl told Upworthy that he was delighted by the news.

Photo from "Star Trek: Beyond"/Paramount Pictures.

"I think it's awesome, and I'm really glad they're doing it," he said.

While he expected that the franchise would eventually introduce LGBT characters, he explained that he didn't believe the writers of the film would actually choose a character with such a long history to be the series' first.

"It's very rare to have something that you want so much to happen in your fandom come true."

"The normalization of things is really powerful," Wohl explained, praising the creators of "Beyond" for choosing not to make a grand statement about Sulu's sexuality within the film.

Making Sulu's sexual orientation just one more facet of a character with decades of rich backstory rather than a major plot point, he said, is just as powerful as using the character to make a big, sweeping statement.

"Almost just as important is to show that the things that were fought for should be viewed as just parts of life."

While he criticized the franchise for being behind the curve on LGBT issues to date, Wohl hopes that with a new series about to launch on CBS, "Star Trek" will further affirm its inclusive values.

"What I really think 'Star Trek' could and should become a pioneer in is when it comes to trans characters," he said.

Similarly, he said, if the franchise does introduce a trans character or characters, it could break new ground by refusing to make their gender identity the focus of their arc.

"The only time that you basically see a trans character is when the story is about them being trans."

But first, the franchise is — thankfully, finally — boldly going ... where many have gone before.

Photo by James Teterenko/Wikimedia Commons.

The show "was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms," creator Roddenberry wrote in an essay on the "Star Trek" philosophy.

While creators, actors, and fans may disagree about the particulars, with "Star Trek," what else is new?

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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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 Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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