Transgender people in this country are in the fight of their lives. This is no exaggeration.

Between fighting for safe spaces in schools, pushing back against hurtful bathroom bills, railing against bigoted local policies disguised as religious freedom, service members being pushed back into the closet, and the constant threat of harassment, sexual assault, and violence, transgender people are truly fighting for their lives.

Now more than ever, we need to stand with transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Here are 21 ways to do just that.


1. Use preferred pronouns and names.

It's not difficult and it shows that you respect and acknowledge someone's identity. If you're not sure which pronouns someone uses, ask.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

2. Need a new book or podcast? Support transgender creatives.

Books, essays, articles, or podcasts are an easy, affordable place to start. This is not only a way to hear rich first-person accounts of some of the issues affecting the transgender community, but buying books or downloading podcasts is a great way to support trans creators financially.

Here's an awesome list of transgender authors by genre to get you started.

3. It's time to start calling people out. Stand up — even when it's hard.

Don't let your friends or family get away cruel "jokes" or snide remarks. It's not always easy, but being an ally isn't a spectator sport. A simple, "That's not OK" in conversation can remind people that words have consequences.

4. Put your money where your heart is and support organizations showing up for trans people.

If you have any extra money, consider donating it to groups like TransLifeline or the Trevor Project. These organizations are on the front lines supporting transgender youth and adults in crisis. If money is tight, consider saving up or donating your next birthday to the effort.

Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.

5. Follow, read, and share transgender voices on social media.

In addition to go-tos like Janet Mock and Laverne Cox, voices like Chris Mosier, Dominick Evans, Katelyn Burns, Emily Gorcenski, and Upworthy's own Parker Molloy are a great place to start.

6. Back Sam, the first educational transgender toy, on Kickstarter.

This sweet toy helps kids explore what it means to grow up transgender. It's great for all kids, not just kids who might be exploring different aspects of their gender identity. Watch this sweet video introducing Sam to the world.

Sam's Story

Meet Sam, the inspiration behind the world's first educational transgender toy. Watch Sam's Story then support our mission to stop transphobia before it starts by pledging on our Kickstarter: http://theyouinsideproject.com

Posted by Enfants transgenres Canada/ Gender Creative Kids Canada on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

7. Trans women of color are being murdered at an alarming rate. They need your support more than ever.

If you don't know about this epidemic, here are the facts. In 2016, at least 22 transgender people died as a result of violence. In 2017, 15 have already been killed by violent means.

Ask your city council, police department, and everyone running for local office what they plan to do to prevent these tragedies. Don't accept non-answers. Lives are at stake.

8. With that in mind, speak out against the gay and trans panic defense.

In 48 states, alleged murderers can defend their actions in court by suggesting the victim's sexual or gender identity triggered their crime. California and Illinois are the only states that have banned this defense. Talk to your state legislators to find out what you can do to advance legislation banning this defense in your state.

9. Volunteer to help transgender-supportive candidates, in your area or nationally.

Bigoted policies don't reach the governor or the president's desk in a vacuum — bigoted people put them there. Help candidates who stand with transgender people get elected or keep their seats.

People arrive to hear Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff speak during a rally to thank volunteers and supporters. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

10. Make sure the places you frequent are inclusive.

Check out the policies or bylaws at your workplace, gym, or community center to make sure they're welcoming and inclusive of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. If not, talk to the powers that be about how to create or improve the nondiscrimination policy.

11. Get out in the community and volunteer.

Use the United Way's search tool to find opportunities supporting the LGTBQ community in your area.

Volunteers man the phones at the Trevor Project Call Center in West Hollywood. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

12. Too busy to volunteer? Support the helpers.

You may not have the time to commit to a weekly or monthly volunteer opportunity, but consider dropping off bagels, coffee, or a thoughtful card to those who do. Drop off the goodies at your local crisis center or LGBTQ community space.

13. Attend LGBTQ events, rallies, and activities.

This doesn't mean co-opt safe LGBTQ safe spaces as your own, but instead, attend Pride and Trans Day of Remembrance events as an ally. Look in your community calendar for LGBTQ film festivals, gallery exhibitions, comedy shows, or demonstrations to attend.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

14. Fund a day of self-care for a transgender person.

Being constantly attacked and scrutinized by your own government is exhausting and a little self-care can go a long way. Awesome folks online are bringing allies together to fund nights out at the movies, co-pays for therapists, or just encouraging notes. Support their effort or donate directly to a friend in need.

Given the news from 45 that will deeply affect the trans community today, we, as allies, accomplices, and...

Posted by

Jerilyn Hassell Pool on Wednesday, July 26, 2017

15. Reach out to the transgender people you know.

A kind word, phone call, or simple text can mean a lot. Let them know you stand with them today and always.

16. Listen, watch, and share stories from transgender people and their families.

There are so many great first-hand accounts that deserve to be heard, like this story of a dad speaking up for his trans son, this Republican, Christian mom staring down bigots to stand up for her daughter, or this story of a woman's coworkers surprising her with a party after her transition. These stories need to be heard.

17. Support trans troops and veterans.

Trans people have served this country proudly in every branch of the armed forces. When policies and declarations attempt to push them back into the closet, call your senator and representative to make sure they're standing on the side of equality. Consider supporting the Transgender American Veterans Association too.

18. Reconsider how you use gendered language.

While some trans people have no problem being referred to by gender-specific phrases like "ladies and gentlemen," inclusive language is just as welcoming and leaves no one out. Just recently, the transportation system in London abandoned "Ladies and Gentlemen" in announcements because "Hello, everyone" works just as well.

Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

19. Model how to stand and support trans people for the kids in your life.

Kids are always watching. Let your kids, or the kids in your life, know that you stand up for transgender and gender-nonconforming people, including them. Encourage the kids in your life to stand up for their friends and do what's right, even when it's hard.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

20. Look up where the companies you love fall on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.

Sure they make great burgers or T-shirts, but does your favorite brand treat its LGBTQ employees fairly? Do they buy goods and contract services from LGBTQ suppliers? If not, consider adjusting your loyalty.

21. Vote.

If you're sick and tired of the mistreatment of transgender people and other traditionally underrepresented groups by their own government, then remember to do your research and vote. Every election — every time.

Now, more than ever, transgender people need our support.

Stand with them, signal boost their voices and stories, and let your elected officials know that discrimination will not be tolerated. Transgender people are fighting for their lives. It's time for some backup.

Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by TR on Unsplash

Companies and organizations are on the side of their employees in light of stricter abortion laws.

The leak from the Supreme Court about overturning Roe v. Wade caused many people with uteruses to go into a tailspin. People began scheduling appointments for long-term birth control. Some opted for permanent birth control. Others stocked up on Plan B or called in preemptive prescriptions for the abortion pill mifepristone. In addition to making tangible plans for what the future might hold in some of these trigger states, people took to the streets to make their voices heard. Protests were held across America against the proposed overturning of Roe v. Wade, which protects people’s right to abortion under the 14th Amendment.

People are also organizing over social media. They’re helping locate nonprofits that will help cover the cost of travel from a restricted state to states where abortion will remain legal. Secret Facebook groups are popping up to help arrange transportation and accommodations for those who need access to safe reproductive care. People are coming together in ways you see in movies, all in an effort to prevent inevitable deaths that would occur if people attempt home abortions. It’s both heartwarming and heart-wrenching that this is something that needs to be done at all. It doesn’t stop with determined activists and housewives across the country, this fiery spirit has reached corporations as well.

Keep Reading Show less

That first car is a rite of passage into adulthood. Specifically, the hard-earned lesson of expectations versus reality. Though some of us are blessed with Teslas at 17, most teenagers receive a car that’s been … let’s say previously loved. And that’s probably a good thing, considering nearly half of first-year drivers end up in wrecks. Might as well get the dings on the lemon, right?

Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

Keep Reading Show less