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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.  

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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Joy

The gift that keeps on giving

The Giving Keys inspire wearers to dream, create and pay it forward

The Giving Keys is a jewelry company that's a bit unconventional, only because they believe that all of their gifts are meant to be regifted. It's a pay it forward, give on to others type of mentality and it in turn gives their pieces that little bit of extra meaning. Each of their keys comes with a story attached, once you decide exactly what that is...

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10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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