Sarah Paulson thought about not thanking her girlfriend at the Emmys. She's glad she did.

Sarah Paulson was a standout at the 2016 Emmys.

Her roles in "American Horror Story" and "The People v. O.J. Simpson" had fans and critics alike rooting for the actress long before she even hit the red carpet.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.


She ended up snagging Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her role in the Simpson crime anthology.

As she stood on stage, Paulson publicly apologized to the real life person she portrayed on screen, Marcia Clark — the head prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

"The more I learned about the real Marcia Clark, not the two-dimensional cardboard cutout I saw on the news, but the complicated, whip-smart, giant-hearted mother of two, who woke up every day, put both feet on the floor and dedicated herself to righting an unconscionable wrong," Paulson said in her speech. "The more I had to recognize that I, along with the rest of the world, had been superficial and careless in my judgment."

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

The apology made waves across the internet for days.

But it was a different, less reported line in Paulson's speech that the actress said she was unsure about: Should she thank her girlfriend?

"Holland Taylor," she said, concluding her speech by addressing her partner. "I love you."

It was just one sentence, but it made a difference.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Paulson opened up about the double standard in straight relationships and queer ones when it comes to public affection and visibility in Hollywood, and why she wouldn't let it deter her from living honestly (emphasis added):

"In terms of my speech, I wanted to say I love you to the person I love. Everyone else does it, so should I not do it because the person I love is a woman? And so I thought, you know what? I’m just gonna do it. I wasn’t worried over it. It was a flashing thought — ‘should I do it?’ And I thought to myself, ‘The fact that I am having this thought is wrong in the first place.’ The idea that I would have to take a moment before I say this to consider what impact it might have that could be negative is an asinine thing to engage with mentally, and I refuse to do it. So I just said what I wanted to say."

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

Paulson's win was celebrated as one of several big moments for LGBTQ women at the Emmys this year.

Openly queer Jill Soloway, the creator of "Transparent," won Best Directing for a Comedy Series — "Topple the patriarchy!" she yelled gleefully from the stage during her speech — while "Saturday Night Live" star Kate McKinnon, the series' first openly lesbian cast member, snagged Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Laverne Cox, who became the first transgender artist to be nominated in an acting category last year, also presented the award for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special.

"Thank you, Ellen DeGeneres, thank you, Hillary Clinton," McKinnon said as a nod to two big names she's impersonated (flawlessly) on her rise to stardom, as the audience laughed.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Don't let the 2016 Emmys fool you, though. TV still has a ways to go before LGBTQ actors and characters are depicted fairly on screen.

Although progress has been made, there's still not enough quality representation in primetime programming — especially for transgender characters, women, and people of color, as the 2015 GLAAD "Where We Are On TV" report found.

What's more, when LGBTQ characters are included, they too often fall into dangerous tropes that perpetuate negative stereotypes. Hollywood also has a tendency to kill off LGBTQ characters or avoid giving them happy endings: "bury your gays," as it's been coined throughout the years.

Too often, queer characters are written more like props — not as complex, real people.  

The only recurring LGBTQ character on TV who's HIV-positive is portrayed by Conrad Ricamora (left) in "How to Get Away with Murder," the 2015 GLAAD report found. Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Point Foundation.

Media representation matters because if and how we see ourselves in the world around us (including on our TV screens) helps shape our own self perceptions in big ways.

Paulson understands no one Emmy win or captivating speech can shift an industry overnight.

"It’s a complicated thing to talk about," Paulson said when asked about how her speech plays into the bigger theme of trailblazing LGBTQ women. "The issues this raises are big and important. I don’t want to give superficial answers."

But — thanks in part to actresses like Paulson, McKinnon, and Cox — more girls and young women can see themselves in their favorite TV series and the Emmy speeches that make history. And that's big.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.