On July 11, 2016, ​the Republican party got together to put the finishing touches on their platform for the upcoming election.

The platform — which outlines what the party stands for and aspires to — is a handy resource for voters and politicians alike.

It's basically a sales pitch to the electorate and a way to measure how views change among the party's members over time.


And for some people, a relatable platform may sell them on the idea of voting in favor of a party's candidates. For others, an unrecognizable or frustrating set of values might indicate the party isn't the best fit for their personal ideologies anymore. 

During that meeting, a woman named Annie Dickerson surprised everyone by offering up a passionate plea for a new set of compassionate values.

She proposed that the party act with compassion on a topic that has always been a bit controversial among Republicans: LGBTQ rights.

Historically speaking, the Republican party has never been especially LGBTQ-friendly. Whether the discussion is related to marriage, parenting, employment, housing, or public accommodations, the party line has remained firmly anti-LGBTQ over the course of time.

Dickerson, who's a member of the platform committee, hoped to change all of that with her speech.

First, she spoke out against language arguing that children of gay and lesbian couples are more likely to be involved with drugs, commit crimes, and wind up in poverty — none of which is supported by evidence.

Then she urged her colleagues to scrap language in support of "traditional marriage and the families a husband and wife create," in favor of more inclusive language simply stating that children need a "loving and stable home." She also argued against the platform's "salute" to the state of North Carolina for its anti-LGBTQ law. And she begged them to show some empathy, to take a stand on the right side of history.

Sadly, though, she mostly stood alone while giving this speech. In the end, most other members of the platform committee adopted anti-LGBTQ positions instead.

Although Dickerson didn't affect the overall 2016 GOP platform, her speech was still really important.

Support for various LGBTQ issues is on the rise across the political spectrum. As a group, Republicans are still less likely than Democrats to back rights like marriage and employment protections. But individually, it looks like change is underway.

You may not hear prominent Republicans speaking out in favor of things like gay marriage (nominee Donald Trump has promised to appoint judges he believes will overturn the Supreme Court's 2015 marriage equality ruling) or civil rights for trans people (earlier this week, RNC speaker Ben Carson referred to transgender people as the "height of absurdity"). But it's important to remember that there are people like Dickerson within the Republican Party offering passionate arguments for change.

Maybe it takes people like Dickerson who will continue to step up and ask for compassion and empathy to change the party line. By 2020, maybe the party will reverse course on some of the more explicitly anti-LGBTQ positions. And maybe, following this fall's election, it'll become clear to those in power that political success cannot be built on the exclusion of others.

No matter what happens, I'm thankful for people like Dickerson.

You can watch Dickerson's speech to the RNC platform committee below.

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

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Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness explains one way the rich get richer.

Any time conversations about wealth and poverty come up, people inevitably start talking about boots.

The standard phrase that comes up is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," which is usually shorthand for "work harder and don't ask for or expect help." (The fact that the phrase was originally used sarcastically because pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps is literally, physically impossible is rarely acknowledged, but c'est la vie.) The idea that people who build wealth do so because they individually work harder than poor people is baked into the American consciousness and wrapped up in the ideal of the American dream.

A different take on boots and building wealth, however, paints a more accurate picture of what it takes to get out of poverty.

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"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) and actor Peter Dinklage.

On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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