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San Francisco homeless
Image collage via Wikicommons

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a new plan to combat homelessness amongst the transgender community

Home is somewhere to lay your head down at night without worry that someone will steal all of your worldly possessions. Home is where people start families and make lifelong memories. Having a place to go home to every night is safety. Safety from the elements and safety from other people who may mean you harm.

And there's almost nothing more quintessentially American than owning a home. Yet, the reality is America does poorly with keeping people housed. Homelessness is a growing problem across the country, especially with the lack of affordable housing and wages that don’t always meet the minimum basic needs.

And the rates of homelessness among transgender people are higher than average with 8% of trans adults experiencing homelessness compared to 1% of cisgender straight adults, according to UCLA School of Law Williams Institute.

To help remedy the problem in her city, the mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, announced a plan to allocate $6.5 million toward an initiative to end homelessness of transgender people in the city.


The multiyear plan would see an end to trans homelessness by 2027. Transgender people face more discrimination, including when securing housing, than their cisgender counterparts. While this is unfair, it’s not particularly surprising when you consider the legislation around what bathrooms trans people can use. It’s not a far reach to assume they likely have difficulty finding a homeless shelter that will accept them based on their identified gender. Safety would also be a large component even if there was no discrimination in sheltering trans individuals.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

"Transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming San Franciscans are 18 times more likely to experience homelessness compared to the general population, and we know that the rates are even higher for our minority trans communities," Breed said in a statement. "With one of the largest TGNC populations in the country, we not only must ensure that all San Franciscans have access to housing and essential resources through continued investments, but we can show the country that we continue to be a leader on supporting and protecting our trans communities."

America has not been kind to gender nonconforming people, especially people that identify as trans. It almost seems like it's acceptable to treat transgender people poorly. It needs to stop. If we are silent when injustice is present, our silence is the loudest voice in the room.

Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash

Breed’s proposed plan would include at least 150 long-term housing subsidies through the city's already established Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool program. It would also fund short-term rental subsidies, flexible financial assistance and support to build the capacity of nonprofits serving transgender and gender nonconforming people. The budget plan is extensive and will include planning for housing for LGBTQ youth who are at a transitional age.

Housing should not be reserved for those who society deems appropriate based on lack of knowledge and biases. Transgender people who are experiencing homelessness deserve a place to call home just as much as the next person. It’s not clear if this announcement was timed just in time for Pride Month, but it sure feels fitting.

Marlon Brando and Sacheen Littlefeather.

Nearly 50 years after Sacheen Littlefeather endured boos and abusive jokes at the Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is issuing a formal apology. In 1973, Littlefeather refused Marlon Brando's Best Actor Oscar on his behalf for his iconic role in “The Godfather” at the ceremony to protest the film industry’s treatment of Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

Littlefeather is a Native American civil rights activist who was born to a Native American (Apache and Yaqui) father and a European American mother.

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via Pixabay

A father cradling his infant son.

It's almost impossible to be handed a baby and not immediately break into baby talk. In fact, it seems incredibly strange to even consider talking to a baby like one would an adult. Studies have shown that babies prefer baby talk, too.

Researchers from Stanford found that babies prefer to be spoken to in baby talk or “parentese” as scientists refer to the sing-songy cooing we do when talking to infants.

“Often parents are discouraged from using baby talk by well-meaning friends or even health professionals,” Michael Frank, a Stanford psychologist, told Stanford News. “But the evidence suggests that it’s actually a great way to engage with your baby because babies just like it–it tells them, ‘This speech is meant for you!’”

The big question that has eluded scientists is whether parentese is a universal language or varies by culture.

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Bobby McFerrin demonstrated the power of the pentatonic scale without saying a word.

Bobby McFerrin is best known for his hit song “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” which showcased his one-man vocal and body percussion skills (and got stuck in our heads for years). But his musicality extends far beyond the catchy pop tune that made him a household name. The things he can do with his voice are unmatched and his range of musical styles and genres is impressive.

The Kennedy Center describes him: “With a four-octave range and a vast array of vocal techniques, Bobby McFerrin is no mere singer; he is music's last true Renaissance man, a vocal explorer who has combined jazz, folk and a multitude of world music influences - choral, a cappella, and classical music - with his own ingredients.”

McFerrin is also a music educator, and one of his most memorable lessons is a simple, three-minute interactive demonstration in which he doesn’t say a single word.

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