These trans artists reveal the first time they truly felt represented in TV and film.

A new TV series is helping spread the word about why representation in entertainment matters.

Identifying with characters onscreen is a privilege many people take for granted. That kind of representation is vital — but it's not something everyone is lucky enough to experience.

"First Time I Saw Me," a new series of videos from Netflix and GLAAD, features eight transgender artists sharing the first time they felt represented in TV and film.


Seeing people we relate to onscreen makes us feel like full members of society, while seeing people different from us helps us overcome stereotypes and fear of the unknown.

"When it comes to transgender characters, we need more of them," said Nick Adams, director of transgender media at GLAAD. "But then we need to improve the quality of them."

For people in underrepresented communities, greater inclusion also means stories and characters that move beyond surface descriptions and stereotypical tropes. "I would love to get to the point where there's a transgender character on a show and literally nothing about their storyline has anything to do with them being trans," said actor Elliot Fletcher.

The artists featured in "First Time I Saw Me" said that getting there means breaking down the barriers to entry and including more trans people in auditions, the writing process, and behind-the-camera work like directing and producing. Telling more authentic stories means involving those people directly in the creative process.

"If you want to create an authentic trans experience on film, involve trans people," actor Jamie Clayton said.

Greater inclusion makes for better stories that more people can enjoy and identify with.

We've seen great strides made in recent years, including in the portrayal of transgender characters.

"Having this kind of representation of different types of people allows us to complicate human experience for other people," said writer and trans advocate Tiq Milan. "That's the starting point, when people start to see trans people as complex individuals."

There's still a lot of work to be done, but the good news is that audiences have been responding well to greater representation.

Diversifying our media is not only the right thing to do — it also results in more interesting and diverse storytelling.  

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less
True

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.