She filmed a trans woman in a restroom and complained about privacy but didn't see the irony.

"You're invading my privacy!" yelled the woman as she live-streamed video of another woman behind a bathroom stall door to her Facebook page.

Jazmina Saavedra, a Republican candidate for Congress in California's 44th district, paced outside the women's restroom at a Los Angeles Denny's. She shouted into the restroom, telling the occupant to get out.

The problem? The woman using the restroom was, Saavedra believed, transgender.


The video is uncomfortable to watch, with the restaurant's manager siding with Saavedra's open discussion of her willingness to attack the woman with pepper spray.

"I was with my pepper spray ready and I called the manager so he helped me," she said in the video. "How can I be with a man inside of the ladies' room just because he thinks he's a lady? This is unbelievable. Only in California this happens."

When asked for comment, Denny's said management received a complaint that led to manager entering the bathroom. "We are extremely disturbed by the incident that took place at our Los Angeles restaurant this week. At Denny's, we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, inclusive of gender identity and sexual orientation," they added.

This is an unbelievably horrible incident, and unfortunately, incidents like it happen all the time. And it just needs to stop.

I am a transgender woman. Like most women, I use the women's restroom. It's not some luxury or something I do for fun. If it were up to me, I'd never use a public restroom at all — but when you've gotta go, you've gotta go.

I am sick of seeing stories like this. I am sick of seeing the actual invasion of someone's privacy taking a backseat to some hypothetical situation where a trans woman does the exact same thing this lady is doing to her.

I'm sick of it all, and I'm not alone. The National Center for Transgender Equality's 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 59% of trans Americans avoided using a public restroom in the prior year for fear of harassment. About 32% ate and drank less to reduce the odds that they'd have to use a restroom, 12% were verbally harassed in one, and 9% were denied access altogether.

Nobody should have to worry about being harassed simply for existing in public, but that's what transgender people face every day.

Anti-trans policies have been popping up in recent years, and they're making things worse — for everybody.

One of the common arguments against allowing trans people to use the bathroom of their identified gender is that women don't want to share a restroom with a "man" (though trans women are not men). The truth, however, is that if trans people are legally obligated to use the bathroom of the gender they were assigned at birth, it's actually more likely to result in situations where women do have to share restrooms with men.

A trans man named Michael Hughes conducted an experiment a few years back to make a point about how out of place it'd be for him to use the women's restroom. Bearded and muscular, the reaction most women would have to seeing him in the restroom would likely be something along the lines of "Eeeee! A man!"

Since the start of the conservative push to legislate bathroom access, a number of cisgender (non-trans) women have been harassed in women's restrooms for looking too masculine. Jessie Meehan isn't trans, but in 2017, she was harassed by a Walgreens employee for trying to use the women's restroom. Apparently, she looked too masculine for their taste.

Her story, documented in the video below, shows the kind of collateral damage of the push to police restroom use, reinforcing how feminine a woman "should" look or how masculine a man "should" look.

Anti-trans policies reinforce gender stereotypes that hurt us all.

Factoring in that the only way to actually enforce policies designed to restrict trans people from using the restroom is for all people to be subjected to invasive genital checks before entering, the entire argument about "privacy" becomes absurd. In fact, the "privacy" argument has always been absurd, often involving wild hypotheticals or some sort of misguided notion of what actually happens in restrooms.

If you are in a women's restroom and you're seeing someone else's genitals, you might be using the restroom horribly wrong. That's got nothing to do with trans people.

Yes, assaults happen in restrooms. However — and this is important — the culprits tend to be cis men, not trans women, who have never argued that they should be allowed to assault people by pretending to be transgender. Assault and voyeurism in public restrooms will always be against the law, no matter whether there's a policy for or against trans people.

If the argument becomes "Well, criminals don't obey the laws, anyway," then it's time to stop pretending that rules and laws banning trans people from public spaces will have any effect on safety or privacy. After all, the only thing "preventing" people from walking into any restroom they want right now is a little plastic sign with a stick figure in a dress.

I care about restroom privacy, and if you do too, you should rebuke people like Saavedra.

Demanding to know whether or not someone is trans before they use a restroom is an invasion of privacy. Requiring trans people to out themselves as such in a public place to around a group of strangers is an invasion of privacy. Filming someone in the bathroom, posting it to Facebook, and then trying to fundraise off of the event is an invasion of privacy.

Take a stand for privacy and just let people pee in peace.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

The battle between millennials and older generations isn't exactly a generational war—it's more a case of mistaken generational identity. A decade ago, whining about millennials being young adults unprepared to make their way in the world at least made sense mathematically. But when people bag on millennials now they end up looking rather foolish.

A marketing researcher with a doctorate in social psychology wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune titled "Post-pandemic, some millennials finally decide to start #adulting." And when the Tribune shared it to Twitter, their since-deleted tweet read, "Writer Jennifer Rosner predicts COVID-10 lockdowns will force easy-breezy millennials to grow up."

Hoo boy.

Interestingly, the writer of the op-ed is a millennial herself, but she repeats generalizations about her entire generation that seem like they mainly apply to her own social circle. Read it yourself to decide, but regardless, the tweet of the op-ed itself set off a firestorm of responses from millennials who are tired of being painted as irresponsible young people who don't know how to "adult" instead of what they actually are.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.