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Modern Love

"Come with me. You’re going to meet the prime minister."

My family and I were sitting in the House of Commons in Ottawa on May 17, 2016, when a member of the Canadian Parliament came to find us. We exchanged surprised looks and quietly rose from our seats, making our way out into the halls of Canada’s most important edifice.

We were there because we’d been invited to witness history that day.


And now, quite unexpectedly, we were about to meet the man at the helm of this historic change: Justin Trudeau.

In order to understand why we were seconds away from this meeting, it’s important to know why we were asked to be there in the first place.

In many ways, my family is a fairly typical one, with two parents, three kids, and a house in the ‘burbs. I’m a writer, and my spouse works in high tech. We throw birthday parties, pay our taxes, cut the lawn, and walk the dogs.

Our family. All images provided by Amanda Jette, used with permission.

If we were ice cream, we’d be vanilla.

Yes, we’re pretty average except for one thing: Two of our family members are transgender.

Just over two years ago, our middle child came out as trans.

Seeing her blossom from a depressed and distressed "boy" into the radiant young lady she is today was the catalyst my partner needed to speak her own truth 18 months later: She is a transgender woman.

My daughter and me.

We had become vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.

While I had no trouble accepting Alexis as my daughter, I questioned whether or not my marriage could survive my spouse’s transition. Could I love her as much as I loved "him"?

As it turns out, I most certainly can. Zoe is beautiful, joyful, and more engaged in life than her male facade ever was. In many ways, she’s an upgraded version of the person I met 23 years ago, making it easy to fall in love all over again. I’m very lucky to have her as my wife.

One thing that made Zoe’s transition easier is Canada’s solid support of same-sex couples. In 2005, we became the fourth country to legalize same-sex marriage.

This has huge implications for families like ours. It meant Zoe could legally transition to female without us losing our rights as a married couple.

But Canada lags behind in transgender rights. As such, we’ve chosen to focus heavily on advocacy, speaking to media, giving talks, and using our voices however and whenever we can. Trans people face increased risk of discrimination, poverty, violence, and suicide. This will only get better if we shine a spotlight on these issues and insist something be done.

In the past, legislation aiming to provide protection to trans folks has been introduced — and thrown out — six times in Canada.

As such, a person’s gender identity and expression are currently not protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

In other words, my wife and daughter do not have the same rights as most Canadians. This is unacceptable. Thankfully, it looks like all that is about to change.

On May 17, 2016, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Canada’s newly elected Liberal government introduced another trans rights bill.

The advantage this seventh attempt has over its predecessors is that it’s the first bill of its kind introduced by a seated government, giving it a more significant chance of becoming law. The Liberals invited trans advocates from across the country to come to Ottawa and witness this historic event.

This is how we found ourselves hurriedly walking through parliament for a surprise meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Our family with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau approached us with a smile in the quiet hallway, shaking each of our hands.

We were thrilled and, admittedly, a little starstruck. He was as kind and sincere in person as I had imagined him to be. It was evident that this day meant a great deal to him, too. After all, his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, was instrumental in decriminalizing homosexuality in 1969. The apple did not fall far from the tree.

I thanked Trudeau wholeheartedly for the work his government is doing to support LGBTQ families.

He responded modestly, saying his party was happy to be doing their small part to help a much larger movement.

He then thanked us — us! — for living openly and bravely, saying change can only happen through example. It was one of the best moments we’ve experienced as advocates.

But the day didn’t end with that meaningful meeting. Throughout the day, we met with several other members of Parliament, and even dined in the parliamentary restaurant with our local members of Parliament. We had the pleasure of meeting with and thanking the minister of justice, Jodi Wilson-Raybould, who has been instrumental in making this new bill a reality.

It was a day my children will remember forever; a day when they got to see, firsthand, how much the Canadian government supports families like ours.

Two weeks later, Trudeau raised the pride flag on Parliament Hill for the first time in Canadian history. And when Ottawa locals gathered to remember the victims of Orlando’s terrible massacre, members of his cabinet attended the vigil, exchanging hugs and tears in solidarity.

It has never been more important for governments to rally around the LGBTQ community.

No, laws will not protect everyone from bigotry, but they send a clear signal to those who wish to discriminate against or cause harm to marginalized groups.

I believe everyone deserves to feel safe, regardless of who they are or who they love. It does my heart good to know my government believes this, too.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

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At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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Photo by DJ Paine on Unsplash

Mississippi teen saves three girls and a police officer.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Sixteen-year-old Corion Evans was passing by the river when he saw a car drive off the road and into the river with three girls inside, and without hesitation, the teen stripped down to his shorts and jumped in to save them. Amber Spradley at WLOX in Mississippi originally reported on the story.

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Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

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