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Turn on your TV, and it's clear: Transgender issues are having a moment in our pop-culture conscious.

Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for GLAAD.


"Orange Is the New Black." "Becoming Us." "I Am Cait." "I Am Jazz."

Several TV series are telling stories of transgender people and characters in thoughtful ways that didn't seem feasible even a few years ago. And these series aren't just reaching niche audiences — they're being recognized at award shows and receiving critical accolades.

During the 2015 Emmys on Sept. 20, Amazon's series "Transparent" took home (not one, not two, but) three statues.

Jill Soloway won Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, Jeffrey Tambor was named Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy, and Bradley Whitford won for Guest Actor in a Comedy, all for their work on "Transparent." The critically acclaimed, buzzed-about series by Amazon follows Tambor's character, "Maura," who comes out as trans to her grown-up children.

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Amazon Studios.

Although the show has received valid criticism for casting Tambor, who is cisgender, in the lead role instead of giving the opportunity to a trans actor, many advocates have credited the show for setting "a new precedent for transgender storytelling."

The show's Emmy wins highlight progress all on their own, but it was Soloway pointing to a sobering reality facing her own transgender parent that truly put the state of transgender rights into perspective.

Because while transgender narratives and story creators are being hailed as winners on stage, transgender people are still being treated like second-class citizens elsewhere, including in Hollywood, where many trans roles are going, as previously mentioned, to cisgender actors.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

“Something interesting about my moppa — she could, tomorrow, go and try to find an apartment, and in 32 states it would be legal for the landlord to say, 'We don't rent to trans people.' We don't have a trans tipping point yet; we have a trans civil rights problem." — Jill Soloway

Soloway's "tipping point" remark could be in reference to Laverne Cox's historic Time magazine cover from last year, which deemed the movement as such. But, judging from the state of trans rights, that tipping point hasn't tipped quite yet.

For all the progress we've seen on trans visibility in Hollywood, it's still legal to discriminate against transgender people in most U.S. states when it comes to things like housing and employment.

And research suggests special protections are certainly needed. A 2011 Williams Institute review of comprehensive LGBT studies found more than three-fourths of transgender people reported being harassed or mistreated at work due to their gender identity.

Photo by Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty Images.

It's wonderful that Hollywood is being more inclusive of trans people and their stories. But the real world needs to follow suit.

That's why, in her speech, Soloway also made sure to note viewers could support progress by visiting the National Center for Transgender Equality, and help pass the Equality Act — a "clear and comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination law" that would promote equal treatment under the law for all sexual orientations and gender identities at the federal level.

Emmy awards are great, but laws that protect people for being who they are in their communities are even better.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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