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After the Trump administration rescinded the Department of Education's Obama-era guidelines to protect trans students, Janet Mock spoke up.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

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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Racist jokes are one of the more frustrating manifestations of racism. Jokes in general are meant to be a shared experience, a connection over a mutual sense of humor, a rush of feel-good chemicals that bond us to those around us through laughter.

So when you mix jokes with racism, the result is that racism becomes something light and fun, as opposed to the horrendous bane that it really is.

The harm done with racist humor isn't just the emotional hurt they can cause. When a group of white people shares jokes at the expense of a marginalized or oppressed racial group, the power of white supremacy is actually reinforced—not only because of the "punching down" nature of such humor, but because of the group dynamics that work in favor of maintaining the status quo.

British author and motivational speaker Paul Scanlon shared a story about interrupting a racist joke at a table of white people at an event in the U.S, and the lessons he drew from it illustrate this idea beautifully. Watch:

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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