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It's time to stand up for trans people. Here are 21 ways to show your support.

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: https://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.

Pop Culture

Airbnb host finds unexpected benefits from not charging guests a cleaning fee

Host Rachel Boice went for a more "honest" approach with her listings—and saw major perks because of it.

@rachelrboice/TikTok

Many frustrated Airbnb customers have complained that the separate cleaning fee is a nuisance.

Airbnb defines its notorious cleaning fee as a “one-time charge” set by the host that helps them arrange anything from carpet shampoo to replenishing supplies to hiring an outside cleaning service—all in the name of ensuring guests have a “clean and tidy space.”

But as many frustrated Airbnb customers will tell you, this feature is viewed as more of a nuisance than a convenience. According to NerdWallet, the general price for a cleaning fee is around $75, but can vary greatly between listings, with some units having cleaning fees that are higher than the nightly rate (all while sometimes still being asked to do certain chores before checking out). And often none of these fees show up in the total price until right before the booking confirmation, leaving many travelers feeling confused and taken advantage of.

However, some hosts are opting to build cleaning fees into the overall price of their listings, mimicking the strategy of traditional hotels.

Rachel Boice runs two Airbnb properties in Georgia with her husband Parker—one being this fancy glass plane tiny house (seen below) that promises a perfect glamping experience.

@rachelrboice Welcome to The Tiny Glass House 🤎 #airbnbfinds #exploregeorgia #travelbucketlist #tinyhouse #glampingnotcamping #atlantageorgia #fyp ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim

Like most Airbnb hosts, the Boice’s listing showed a nightly rate and separate cleaning fee. According to her interview with Insider, the original prices broke down to $89 nightly, and $40 for the cleaning fee.

But after noticing the negative response the separate fee got from potential customers, Rachel told Insider that she began charging a nightly rate that included the cleaning fee, totaling to $129 a night.

It’s a marketing strategy that more and more hosts are attempting in order to generate more bookings (people do love feeling like they’re getting a great deal) but Boice argued that the trend will also become more mainstream since the current Airbnb model “doesn’t feel honest.”

"We stay in Airbnbs a lot. I pretty much always pay a cleaning fee," Boice told Insider. "You're like: 'Why am I paying all of this money? This should just be built in for the cost.'"

Since combining costs, Rachel began noticing another unexpected perk beyond customer satisfaction: guests actually left her property cleaner than before they were charged a cleaning fee. Her hypothesis was that they assumed she would be handling the cleaning herself.

"I guess they're thinking, 'I'm not paying someone to clean this, so I'll leave it clean,'" she said.

This discovery echoes a similar anecdote given by another Airbnb host, who told NerdWallet guests who knew they were paying a cleaning fee would “sometimes leave the place looking like it’s been lived in and uncleaned for months.” So, it appears to be that being more transparent and lumping all fees into one overall price makes for a happier (and more considerate) customer.

These days, it’s hard to not be embittered by deceptive junk fees, which can seem to appear anywhere without warning—surprise overdraft charges, surcharges on credit cards, the never convenience “convenience charge” when purchasing event tickets. Junk fees are so rampant that certain measures are being taken to try to eliminate them outright in favor of more honest business approaches.

Speaking of a more honest approach—as of December 2022, AirBnb began updating its app and website so that guests can see a full price breakdown that shows a nightly rate, a cleaning fee, Airbnb service fee, discounts, and taxes before confirming their booking.

Guests can also activate a toggle function before searching for a destination, so that full prices will appear in search results—avoiding unwanted financial surprises.


This article originally appeared on 11.08.23

National Autistic Society/Youtube

"Diverted" educational video shared through the Too Much Information Campaign.

Everyone who lives with autism experiences it somewhat differently. You'll often hear physicians and advocates refer to the spectrum that exists for those who are autistic, pointing to a wide range of symptoms and skills.

But one thing many autistic people experience is sensory processing issues.


For autistic people, processing the world around them when it comes to sight, smell, or touch can be challenging, as their senses are often over- or under-sensitive. Certain situations — like meandering through a congested mall or enduring the nonstop blasting of police sirens — can quickly become unbearable.

This reality is brought to life in a new video by the U.K.'s National Autistic Society (NAS).

The eye-opening PSA takes viewers into the mind of a autistic woman as she thinks about struggling to stay composed in a crowded, noisy train.

It's worth a watch:

The PSA hit especially close to home for 22-year-old actress and star of the video Saskia Lupin, who is autistic herself. "Overall I feel confused," she said, of abrupt changes to her routine. "Like I can't do anything and all sense of rationality is lost."

She's not alone.

According to a study cited in NAS' press release, 75% of autistic people say unexpected changes make them feel socially isolated. What's more, 67% reported seeing or hearing negative reactions from the public when they try to calm themselves down in such situations — from eyerolls and stares to unwelcome, hurtful comments.

The new PSA aims to improve that last figure in particular.

It's part of the organization's Too Much Information campaign — an initiative to build empathy and understanding in allistic (i.e., not autistic) people for those on the spectrum.

Autism Awareness Day, campaign, World Autism Awareness Week

Campaign by National Autistic Society created to share the autistic experience to the world.

Photo from Pixabay

"It isn't that the public sets out to be judgmental towards autistic people," Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS, said in a statement in 2016. It's just that, often, the public doesn't "see" the autism.

"They see a 'strange' man pacing back and forth in a shopping center," Lever explained, "or a 'naughty' girl having a tantrum on a bus, and don't know how to respond."

Well, now we do.

Instead of staring, rolling your eyes, or thinking judgmental thoughts about the young person's parents, remember: You have no idea what that stranger on the train is going through.

“We can't make the trains run on time," said Lever. But even the simplest, smallest things — like remembering not to stare and giving a person some space and compassion if they need it — can make a big difference.


This article originally appeared on 03.28.18

Image from Pixabay.

Under the sea...

True
The Wilderness Society


You're probably familiar with the literary classic "Moby-Dick."

But in case you're not, here's the gist: Moby Dick is the name of a huge albino sperm whale.

(Get your mind outta the gutter.)


There's this dude named Captain Ahab who really really hates the whale, and he goes absolutely bonkers in his quest to hunt and kill it, and then everything is awful and we all die unsatisfied with our shared sad existence and — oops, spoilers!


OK, technically, the narrator Ishmael survives. So it's actually a happy ending (kind of)!

whales, Moby Dick, poaching endangered species

Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Basically, it's a famous book about revenge and obsession that was published back in 1851, and it's really, really long.

It's chock-full of beautiful passages and dense symbolism and deep thematic resonance and all those good things that earned it a top spot in the musty canon of important literature.

There's also a lot of mundane descriptions about the whaling trade as well (like, a lot). That's because it came out back when commercial whaling was still a thing we did.

conservation, ocean water conservation

A non-albino mother and baby sperm whale.

Photo by Gabriel Barathieu/Wikipedia.

In fact, humans used to hunt more than 50,000 whales each year to use for oil, meat, baleen, and oil. (Yes, I wrote oil twice.) Then, in 1946, the International Whaling Commission stepped in and said "Hey, wait a minute, guys. There's only a few handful of these majestic creatures left in the entire world, so maybe we should try to not kill them anymore?"

And even then, commercial whaling was still legal in some parts of the world until as recently as 1986.

International Whaling Commission, harpoons

Tail in the water.

Whale's tail pale ale GIF via GoPro/YouTube

And yet by some miracle, there are whales who were born before "Moby-Dick" was published that are still alive today.

What are the odds of that? Honestly it's hard to calculate since we can't exactly swim up to a bowhead and say, "Hey, how old are you?" and expect a response. (Also that's a rude question — jeez.)

Thanks to some thoughtful collaboration between researchers and traditional Inupiat whalers (who are still allowed to hunt for survival), scientists have used amino acids in the eyes of whales and harpoon fragments lodged in their carcasses to determine the age of these enormous animals — and they found at least three bowhead whales who were living prior to 1850.

Granted those are bowheads, not sperm whales like the fictional Moby Dick, (and none of them are albino, I think), but still. Pretty amazing, huh?

whale blubber, blue whales, extinction

This bowhead is presumably in adolescence, given its apparent underwater moping.

GIF via National Geographic.

This is a particularly remarkable feat considering that the entire species was dwindling near extinction.

Barring these few centenarian leviathans, most of the whales still kickin' it today are between 20 and 70 years old. That's because most whale populations were reduced to 10% or less of their numbers between the 18th and 20th centuries, thanks to a few over-eager hunters (and by a few, I mean all of them).

Today, sperm whales are considered one of the most populous species of massive marine mammals; bowheads, on the other hand, are still in trouble, despite a 20% increase in population since the mid-1980s. Makes those few elderly bowheads that much more impressive, huh?

population, Arctic, Great Australian Blight

Southern Right Whales hangin' with a paddleboarder in the Great Australian Bight.

GIF via Jaimen Hudson.

Unfortunately, just as things are looking up, these wonderful whales are in trouble once again.

We might not need to worry our real-life Captain Ahabs anymore, but our big aquatic buddies are still being threatened by industrialization — namely, from oil drilling in the Arctic and the Great Australian Bight.

In the off-chance that companies like Shell and BP manage not to spill millions of gallons of harmful crude oil into the water, the act of drilling alone is likely to maim or kill millions of animals, and the supposedly-safer sonic blasting will blow out their eardrums or worse.

This influx of industrialization also affects their migratory patterns — threatening not only the humans who depend on them, but also the entire marine ecosystem.

And I mean, c'mon — who would want to hurt this adorable face?

social responsibility, nature, extinction

BOOP.

Image from Pixabay.

Whales might be large and long-living. But they still need our help to survive.

If you want another whale to make it to his two-hundred-and-eleventy-first birthday (which you should because I hear they throw great parties), then sign this petition to protect the waters from Big Oil and other industrial threats.

I guarantee Moby Dick will appreciate it.


This article originally appeared on 11.04.15

How to clear a stuffy nose instantly.

With cold season upon us, there's no better time to learn a couple of awesome and easy tricks that will clear up the dreaded and annoying stuffy nose.

Prevention magazine created a short video showing two easy ways to get you breathing free again no matter how stuffed up you might be.


Both tricks take less than two minutes and are certainly worth trying out when it feels like that runny nose might never go away.


Watch the YouTube video below:

This article first appeared on 9.8.17.

Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.



WARNING: At 2:40, he's going to break your heart a little.

You can read more about Heather Skye's hug with Captain Picard at her blog.


This article originally appeared on 06.26.13.