+
More

This video for a brilliantly designed transgender toy hit me right in the feels.

An ad for a new toy sure knows how to tug at those heartstrings.

It's not usually a great sign if you're crying at the end of a toy commercial, but in the case of Sam, that might actually be the entire point.

First, let me back up and tell you a story. I have a set of nesting dolls I keep on my desk, a gift from a friend back when I first came out as transgender. The doll's nesting layers came to represent who I was, who I am, and who I will be, all contained in one body.

So what does this have to do with a toy commercial?


Earlier this week, I saw "Sam's Story," an animated short by Gender Creative Kids Canada about a transgender boy coming to terms with who he is. The video ends with a call for people to visit The You Inside Project to back a Kickstarter aiming to create what the group is calling "the world's first educational transgender toy."

It just so happens that "Sam" is a nesting doll set — just like mine.

Sam's Story

Meet Sam, the inspiration behind the world's first educational transgender toy. Watch Sam's Story then support our mission to stop transphobia before it starts by pledging on our Kickstarter: http://theyouinsideproject.com

Posted by Enfants transgenres Canada/ Gender Creative Kids Canada on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

When I first watched the video, I was floored to see such a familiar scenario play out.

I broke down in tears about three-quarters of the way through the video, seeing a powerful connection to my own experience. And when the toy's prototype appeared on the screen, I completely lost it.

While the outside may change, the heart represents what really matters: the you inside. GIF from Gender Creative Kids Canada/Facebook.

The reason the dolls have played such an important, lasting role is my life is that they serve as a reminder that while the outer layer may change over time, at my core, I'm still me. I can only imagine what it would have been like if I'd had a toy like Sam growing up. Perhaps I would have understood myself a bit sooner, and perhaps I wouldn't have spent so much time feeling so broken.

A toy like Sam is obviously important for trans kids, but GCKC thinks that even cisgender (non-trans) children and parents will learn a lot from Sam as well.

Annie Pullen Sansfaçon, vice president of Gender Creative Kids Canada, explains that the toy may help other children better understand what a trans classmate may be going through and help start a conversation about gender identity in a way that's accessible to younger children. Most of all, the project hopes to be a fun way to discuss a topic that we don't often talk about.

"Whether the child is transgender, gender diverse, or not, everyone has a gender identity, and Sam can help them discuss it and understand that what matters, is the you inside," explains Sansfaçon in an email. "It can also help adults surrounding a transgender or a gender-diverse child  to open up and discuss gender identity in a playful manner.  It can also be used to discuss gender stereotypes with everyone."

This sweet story has a happy ending. GIF from Gender Creative Kids Canada/Facebook.

This toy, and the message it represents, is sure to help kids who are growing up feeling the way I did.

I know it because I lived it.

And here I am again, crying those happy tears, knowing that the world can be a better and more understanding place.

Thank you, Sam. GIF from Gender Creative Kids Canada/Facebook.

Learn more about Gender Creative Kids Canada at the group's website, about the toy's design in this interview with Applied Arts magazine and about how you can help make the toy a reality (they need our help!) at theyouinsideproject.com.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

Honorees, speakers and guests on stage at We the Peoples

True

Some people say that while change is inevitable, progress is a choice. In other words, it’s a purposeful act—like when American media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner established the United Nations Foundation 25 years ago.

Keep ReadingShow less

Fox was granted the award for his contributions to Parkinson's disease research through his foundation.

Following his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease back in the early '90s, beloved “Back to the Future” star Michael J. Fox became an unwavering advocate for others living with the condition. His Michael J. Fox Foundation, founded in 2000, has become the leading provider of funds for Parkinson's research in the world. A large chunk of that research goes into investigating potential cures for the disease.

His contributions to Parkinson's research were highlighted at the 13th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday, Nov. 19, in Los Angeles as a recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, which honors individuals "whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

As the now-retired actor took to the stage to accept his honorary Oscar, he delivered a speech full of emotion, grace and a sense of humor that shoots straight to the heart.

Keep ReadingShow less
True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Keep ReadingShow less
via Reddit

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


When Michael Todd started his freshman year at MLK prep school in Memphis, Tennessee two years ago, he only had one outfit to wear to school. High school kids can be incredibly cruel and Michael was mocked for three weeks for wearing the same clothes every day.

"I really don't have clothes at home," he told KTVI. "My mom can't buy clothes for me because I'm growing too fast."


Keep ReadingShow less
Photo pulled from video

Texas dad giving heartfelt speech.

This article originally appeared on 07.06.17


A baseball cap on his head, his hands tucked snugly in his front blue jean pockets, Ken Ballard stood in front of a room of onlookers, admittedly a little out of his element.

But the issue at hand was so critical, Ballard said, he couldn't keep quiet.

Keep ReadingShow less

Chris Hemsworth and daughter.

This article originally appeared on 08.27.18


In addition to being the star of Marvel franchise "Thor," actor Chris Hemsworth is also a father-of-three? And it turns out, he's pretty much the coolest dad ever.

In a clip from a 2015 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Hemsworth shared an interesting conversation he had with his 4-year-old daughter India.

Keep ReadingShow less