The first openly trans man is graduating from Spelman. Here's his incredible story.

This commencement season, one Spelman College student is making remarkable history.    

Keo Chaad O'Neal says that he is the first openly trans man to graduate from Spelman College, one of the most well-known single-sex historically black colleges (HBCUs) in the nation.

In a social media post that's now gone viral, O'Neal stands proudly in a Spelman stole, grinning from ear to ear. The response to his accomplishment was profound.


O'Neal's undergraduate journey was not a linear one. He transferred out of Spelman, an all-women's college, to a predominately white institution (PWI) because he couldn't be his "full queer self." Though O'Neal initially found women who encouraged him to be live authentically, he found himself constantly having to choose between being queer and being unapologetically black.

"I felt like no matter what, I was sacrificing a part of myself, so then it came down to which fight I wanted to fight," says O'Neal. "This became one of those instances where you have to choose your race over your sexuality which, unfortunately, a lot of QPOC (queer people of color) have to do."  

O'Neal's choice is all too relatable for many queer black kids navigating higher education spaces.

Some institutions normalize blackness, while others normalize queerness. It's rare for kids of color find a place that affirms both.  

Intersectionality, which describes overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage — such as race, gender, and sexuality — is something that many queer black kids grapple with in society. Having various identities, all of which are discriminated against in compounding ways, can be a heavy burden.

Being unapologetically black and queer shouldn't be mutually exclusive, but for many black youth, it is.

Fortunately, O'Neal had a support system that gave him the confidence to transfer back to Spelman and be himself there, each and every day until he graduated.

Particularly helpful to O'Neal were Dean of Students Fran'Cee Brown-McClure and the Spelman Wellness Center's Coach Makeba Reed-Johnson. "I wouldn't have been able to finish out at Spelman if it were not for them," says O'Neal. "They defended, protected, and extended themselves to me."  

He also found a supportive network of friends, including Spelman junior Abeo Chimeka-Tisdale.

"I think that Keo's graduation is important to the atmosphere at HBCUs because it shows that there is a place for us at the institutions, even if we have to create that space for ourselves," Chimeka-Tisdale says in an email. "It shows that even when these institutions try to erase or ignore us, we can persevere and thrive on our own."

O'Neal's support network serves as an example for other institutions looking to create a more inclusive student body.

Mount Holyoke College, a single-sex school in South Hadley, MA, likely has one of the most progressive policies the nation. The college admits students designated male at birth who identify as female or nonbinary, as well as those designated female at birth who identify as male or nonbinary.

In September 2017, Spelman announced that it would admit transgender women, becoming one of many colleges around the nation revisiting admissions policies as it pertains to trans and nonbinary students.

Though encouraging, admissions policies are just the beginning of true change. Single-sex college campuses must work to foster environments that make queer and trans students feel safe and included in the student body. The necessary shift is slowly in the works, particularly in the black community, according to O'Neal.

"Since my coming out, people are a lot more curious and a lot more willing to learn about sexuality and gender and more importantly, learning the difference between the two," he says. "I find that people are a lot more genuine when talking to me about queerness because they really just want to understand, which is something I never got my freshman year."  

Working toward systemic change is no easy undertaking. But O'Neal says that starting with yourself, your campus, or your community — even if it's hard — is the best first step.

"Sometimes you have to carve out your own spaces to exist, and that is OK, but do not allow anyone to put you in a corner," O'Neal says. "Let people feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it."

Photo courtesy of Keo Chaad O'Neal, used with permission.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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