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trans rights

Pop Culture

Drew Barrymore and Dylan Mulvaney share powerful moment on what they've learned from their critics

“It’s beautiful when your childhood icons are actually decent people."

Drew Barrymore speaks with Dylan Mulvaney

Drew Barrymore has been part of our public lives for more than 40 years. And while she has millions of fans, you're bound to pick up some critics along the way.

These days, it's easy to dismiss any sort of criticism as out of bounds, be it sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and so on.

Which is why it's easy to understand why one might assume that's where Barrymore was going in her interview with trans influencer and activist Dylan Mulvaney.

Instead, the pair shared a powerful exchange, even kneeling on the floor where Barrymore felt the intimacy of their moment would be "safer." They broke down what they've learned from their critics and how they've learned to move beyond other kinds of criticism that are only designed to cause harm.

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Milo Winslow was a trans rights advocate in Lincoln, Nebraska. Winslow, who was 30, passed away on March 3. He made a name for himself recently on TikTok where he spoke candidly to his 19,000 followers about his transition and his advocacy work for trans rights. He was the only trans person to testify in support of Lincoln City Council’s Fairness Ordinance to expand protection for the LGBTQ+ community.

The intersection of mental health and advocacy is not talked about much outside of advocacy circles. And that's part of why it's so important for us to tell Milo's story, the legacy he leaves behind and what we can do to ensure other vulnerable people can live happy, safe and healthy lives.

The ordinance would update Title 11, which is a city code that concerns equal opportunity. There were multiple changes to the Fairness Ordinance, but the one that Winslow was specifically advocating for concerned inclusion and sexual orientation and gender expression. This would deem transgender and nonconforming people as protected members of the community against discrimination. The ordinance passed 5-0, but shortly after it was passed, a referendum petition gathered more than 18,000 signatures to contest the protections. The petition only needed 4,137 signatures to rescind the ordinance or put it to a vote.

This was not Winslow’s first time testifying in support of an ordinance designed to protect members of the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination and harmful practices. In March 2021, he testified to support the ordinance that would ban conversion therapy on youth. Winslow was known for his conversation style advocacy, connecting with listeners on a deeper level and engaging with them with honesty and empathy. His friend Sarah Cohen Walker said he would “meet people where they were, finding ways to help them understand.”

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Wil Wheaton | Wil Wheaton speaking at the 2018 Phoenix Comic… | Flickr

Comedy can be uplifting. And it can also be downright destructive. The rise of cancel culture has made us take a hard look at what we normalize for the sake of a good joke. And with Dave Chappelle’s controversial comedy special, that includes jokes which can be perceived as cruel or homophobic jabs by the LGBTQ community and allies.

At the same time, comedy is supposed to be disruptive, is it not? It’s meant to be audacious, bawdy, outrageous. And let’s not forget it’s often said sarcastically, meaning we don’t really believe what what's being said … right?

Wil Wheaton has previously given a brilliant take on how to separate the art from the artist. This time though, he’s confronting the art itself and what makes it problematic.

For anyone who genuinely doesn't understand why I feel as strongly as I do about people like Chappelle making transphobic comments that are passed off as jokes, I want to share a story that I hope will help you understand, and contextualize my reaction to his behavior.
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Gavin Grimm came out as a transgender male six years ago to his classmates at Gloucester High School in Virginia. The Gloucester County School Board retaliated by prohibiting students "with gender identity issues" from using the same common restrooms as other boys and girls.

Instead, Grimm was forced to use an "alternative appropriate private facility."

Grimm was excluded from using the restroom that confirmed his gender even after undergoing hormone therapy which "altered his bone and muscle structure, deepened his voice, and caused him to grow facial hair." He also obtained a Virginia state I.D. card and birth certificate that listed his legal sex as male.

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