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Janet Mock lays out why protecting trans students is about so much more than bathrooms.

The Trump administration wants to roll back trans rights. This bestselling author makes a strong case for why he's wrong.

Janet Mock lays out why protecting trans students is about so much more than bathrooms.

After the Trump administration rescinded the Department of Education's Obama-era guidelines to protect trans students, Janet Mock spoke up.

In her 2014 bestselling memoir "Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More," Mock gave readers a look at what life was like growing up transgender. On Feb. 22, 2017, the TV host, advocate, and author of the upcoming "Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me" came to the defense of trans students affected by Trump's latest action.

Mock speaks at the Women's March on Washington. Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images.


In a Facebook note, Mock described the mental, physical, and social toll of anti-trans discrimination in schools.

School was a place that Mock "considered a refuge" from some of the other challenges of everyday life. After she came out as trans during her sophomore year, that refuge was gone.

"I had issues with bathrooms and locker room access," Mock wrote. "I was sent home repeatedly due to 'dress code violations.' I was repeatedly called out of my name and misgendered daily by classmates and staff."

Mock at the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco. Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for GLAAD.

"Always the first with my hand up, the one ready and willing to do and learn more, I would go home at night and seriously contemplate never returning to school. The struggle of waking up every day, getting dressed, walking to school and being met with stares and closed doors weighed heavily on me. I was only 15 years old."

Mock eventually was able to transfer to a more welcoming school where she wasn't discriminated against for being trans, and that made all the difference in the world.

Her new high school validated her, welcomed her, and offered her equal access to school facilities — and as a result, Mock was able to thrive, earning a college scholarship for her academic work.

"I know first hand how utterly vital it is for young people — for all of us actually — to be met with nods, applause, and open doors. It’s even more urgent for marginalized students, regardless of their ability, race, class, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation or gender expression and/or identities."

Trans students, like all students, should feel safe, encouraged, and accepted by their school.

That's just one of the most basic elements of education, and yet for many trans kids, that's lacking. According to a 2015 survey from GLSEN, 60% of trans students were denied access to restrooms that matched their gender identity. As a result, nearly 70% of trans students reported making efforts to avoid using school restrooms at all — some taking steps as extreme as not eating or drinking during the day.

Mock at the Shorty Awards on April 11, 2016, in New York City. Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images.

Bullying is unacceptable when it comes from other students, and it's even worse when it comes (even passively) from teachers or administration. What the Trump administration did by rescinding the Department of Education guidance for transgender students suggests that maybe trans students don't deserve the same sort of nurturing environment as others. What kind of message does that send to teachers, parents, and students?

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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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."