+
upworthy
Identity

Supreme Court uses a transgender woman's pronouns in a landmark decision

In a unanimous decision, the court sided with a transgender Guatemalan woman fighting deportation.

supreme court, santos-zacaria decision, ketanji brown jackson

The United States Supreme Court

Amidst the backdrop of a passionate cultural debate over transgender rights, the Supreme Court has made a landmark ruling that uses a transgender woman's pronouns and chosen name. A ruling written by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson refers to Estrella Santos-Zacaria, a transgender woman who was given the name Leon Santos-Zacaria and assigned male at birth, as “she.”

The court sided with Santos-Zacaria, 34, in a case centered around a migrant’s rights to appeal a denial of protection from removal from the U.S. The court's unanimous ruling now gives Santos-Zacaria another chance to contest the immigration officials' rejection of her plea to stay in the U.S.

Throughout the 19-page opinion, Jackson used the term “her” to refer to the petitioner seven times and referred to her as “she” in the opening sentence.


“Petitioner Leon Santos-Zacaria (who goes by the name Estrella) fled her native Guatemala in her early teens,” Jackson wrote. “She has testified that she left that country, and fears returning, because she suffered physical harm and faced death threats as a transgender woman who is attracted to men.”

The opinion was joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote a concurrence joined by Justice Clarence Thomas that avoided the pronoun issue altogether. Alito’s discussion only references the statue and avoids referring to Santos-Zacaria. It used general terms such as “this case” and “the circumstances presented here.”

Santos-Zacaria was raped at the age of 12 in Guatemala and endured many threats of violence due to her gender identity. Fearing for her safety, she fled Guatemala and unlawfully entered the United States in 2008. She was deported twice and returned to the U.S. in 2018 after a gang in Mexico raped and assaulted her.

Her case came to the Supreme Court after a U.S. immigration judge found that she didn’t make a strong enough case that she would face persecution in Guatemala. The decision contradicts the fact that the State Department has found that Guatemala has done little to protect LGBTQ people.

The Supreme Court’s subtle nod to transgender rights comes at a time when politicians across the country have introduced over 430 bills that restrict fundamentals like health care, education and freedom of expression for LGBTQ people. About 1.6 million American teens and adults identify as transgender.

Trans rights look to be a big issue in the 2024 election, and the intense focus has many transgender people on edge.

“Across the community, there’s a broad array of reactions,” Imara Jones, the founder and chief executive of TransLash Media, told The Hill. “Some people are afraid, others are motivated, others are angry, others are fighting back.”

Americans seem to have conflicting feelings about trans issues. A 2022 poll found that 60% of Americans believe that "whether a person is a man or a woman is determined by sex assigned at birth," up from 54% in 2017. However, 64% of support laws that protect trans people from discrimination in jobs, housing and public spaces.

All images provided by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

Collins after being selected by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

True

A changemaker is anyone who takes creative action to solve an ongoing problem—be it in one’s own community or throughout the world.

And when it comes to creating positive change, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective can hold just as much power as years of experience. That’s why, every year, Prudential Emerging Visionaries celebrates young people for their innovative solutions to financial and societal challenges in their communities.

This national program awards 25 young leaders (ages 14-18) up to $15,000 to devote to their passion projects. Additionally, winners receive a trip to Prudential’s headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, where they receive coaching, skills development, and networking opportunities with mentors to help take their innovative solutions to the next level.

For 18-year-old Sydnie Collins, one of the 2023 winners, this meant being able to take her podcast, “Perfect Timing,” to the next level.

Since 2020, the Maryland-based teen has provided a safe platform that promotes youth positivity by giving young people the space to celebrate their achievements and combat mental health stigmas. The idea came during the height of Covid-19, when Collins recalled social media “becoming a dark space flooded with news,” which greatly affected her own anxiety and depression.

Knowing that she couldn’t be the only one feeling this way, “Perfect Timing” seemed like a valuable way to give back to her community. Over the course of 109 episodes, Collins has interviewed a wide range of guests—from other young influencers to celebrities, from innovators to nonprofit leaders—all to remind Gen Z that “their dreams are tangible.”

That mission statement has since evolved beyond creating inspiring content and has expanded to hosting events and speaking publicly at summits and workshops. One of Collins’ favorite moments so far has been raising $7,000 to take 200 underserved girls to see “The Little Mermaid” on its opening weekend, to “let them know they are enough” and that there’s an “older sister” in their corner.

Of course, as with most new projects, funding for “Perfect Timing” has come entirely out of Collins’ pocket. Thankfully, the funding she earned from being selected as a Prudential Emerging Visionary is going toward upgraded recording equipment, the support of expert producers, and skill-building classes to help her become a better host and public speaker. She’ll even be able to lease an office space that allows for a live audience.

Plus, after meeting with the 24 other Prudential Emerging Visionaries and her Prudential employee coach, who is helping her develop specific action steps to connect with her target audience, Collins has more confidence in a “grander path” for her work.

“I learned that my network could extend to multiple spaces beyond my realm of podcasting and journalism when industry leaders are willing to share their expertise, time, and financial support,” she told Upworthy. “It only takes one person to change, and two people to expand that change.”

Prudential Emerging Visionaries is currently seeking applicants for 2024. Winners may receive up to $15,000 in awards and an all-expenses-paid trip to Prudential’s headquarters with a parent or guardian, as well as ongoing coaching and skills development to grow their projects.

If you or someone you know between the ages of 14 -18 not only displays a bold vision for the future but is taking action to bring that vision to life, click here to learn more. Applications are due by Nov. 2, 2023.
Identity

13 side-by-side portraits of people over 100 with their younger selves

These powerful before-and-after photos reveal just how beautiful aging can be.


Centenarians — people 100 years or older — are a rarity. Their lives are often scrutinized as holding the key to aging.

Czech photographer Jan Langer's portrait series "Faces of Century" shows them in a different light: as human beings aged by years of experience, but at their deepest level, unchanged by the passing of time.

In the series, Langer juxtaposes his portraits with another portrait of the subject from decades earlier. He recreates the original pose and lighting as closely as he can — he wants us to see them not just as they are now, but how they have and haven't changed over time. That is the key to the series.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Video of two 90-year-old sisters saying goodbye shoots straight to the heart

“If we don’t see each other again on this earth, we’ll see each other in heaven."

@stephanieatkinson/TikTok

Don't say goodbye.

A video making the rounds online is reminding us all that love transcends all time and distance.

94-year-old Barbara Carolan of Seabrook, Massachusetts, hadn’t been able to see her 90-year-old sister Shirley, who lives in Nevada, since 2020.

When it became clear to Barbara that she might not have much time left to spend with her beloved sister, she prepared to make the 2,700-mile cross country trip to say goodbye.
Keep ReadingShow less
via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

Keep ReadingShow less
Humor

Baby has perfect faces while pretending to be a 'tall woman' on her mom's shoulders

She's totally an adult and not just a baby sitting three other children under a trench coat.

This baby has perfect timing while pretending to be 'tall'

Cartoons and TV shows always made it look like stacking three kids on top of each other under a long coat could fool anyone. "Move along folks, nothing to see here. Just an abnormally tall man with the face of a toddler," is the vibe those scenes gave off and somehow the trick almost always worked.

But it's really not something that's ever come up in real life. No rogue kindergarteners attempting to get into a bar by hiding under a long overcoat. It seemed like one of those things you'd encounter more often growing up, you know...like the quicksand problem that plagued the country. Children are simply much more supervised than cartoons would have you believe. But just because there's supervision doesn't mean there can't be shenanigans.

TikTok user, Messi Ross uploaded a video of her toddler pulling the old stack people to pretend you're an adult gag. Except, mom was in on it.

Keep ReadingShow less

A woman is torn between a friendship and the truth.

Sometimes, the quest for the truth can push people to make extreme choices, especially when not knowing the answer eats away at them daily. Such is the story of Reddit user FooFooBunnyLa, who was so concerned over the identity of her best friend’s child that she forced her to get a paternity test.

Her best friend had a son with a man she claimed was a one-night stand, so she raised him alone. As the child grew older, FooFooBunnyLa started to get suspicious.

“The issue is this: this kid looks EXTREMELY like my husband like to an insane degree,” FooFooBunnyLA wrote on the Reddit AITA subforum. “The hair color, eyes, face, everything. He’s even been out with my friend and her son, and people have mistaken him to be the dad before. Needless to say, for three years now, I’ve had my suspicions, but I haven’t said anything. My husband is also close to my friend, and the timeline works out. We were all living almost in the same neighborhood around the time she got pregnant.”

Keep ReadingShow less
GIPHY, @melrobbins/TikTok

One in three Americans consume true crime content

Unlike the murder victims it centers around, there seems to be no end in sight for true crime, and the cult-like following it inspires. One in three Americans consume true crime content—be it in the form of a podcast, movies, television series, books, even online forums and videos—at least once a week. Thirteen percent of those folks would even say it’s their favorite genre.

But just what is it about this pop culture juggernaut that has us hooked? Danger and suspense? Mystery? Our fascination with the dark side of humanity?

Perhaps. But according to one psychologist, there’s another insidious reason lurking in the shadows of our subconscious.
Keep ReadingShow less