Too young to remember the huge LGBTQ rally of 1993? Check out these 16 pics.

1. On April 25, 1993, a massive LGBTQ rights rally stormed the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

And it was a spectacular, colorful sight to be seen.

Photo by Mark Wilson/AP.


2. By some estimates, the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation is one of the largest political rallies in U.S. history.

Exact crowd sizes are difficult to nail down. But many believe the march attracted somewhere between 300,000 and 800,000 supporters from across the country and world.

Photo by Paul Richards/AFP/Getty Images.

3. These smiling, energized, angry, determined marchers were trailblazers that, in so many ways, helped lead us to where we are today when it comes to LGBTQ rights.

4. Because, back in 1993, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people lived under dramatically different circumstances.

Photo by Aryeh Rabinovich/AFP/Getty Images.

The 1990s might seem like they were yesterday. But in certain respects, they may have felt like the Dark Ages if you weren't straight and cisgender.

5. For one, the HIV/AIDS epidemic was still raging at crisis levels in the early 1990s.

The spread of HIV/AIDS still is, without a doubt, a major health concern in the U.S. today, particularly for certain sub-populations. But at the time these photos were taken — before many medical advances allowed for HIV-positive people to live longer, healthier lives — overall mortality rates were still rising at an alarming speed. They finally began dropping in 1995.

Marlin Hofer and David Briley, the two men in the foreground, were both affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When this photo was taken, Hofer was HIV-positive and Briley was living with AIDS. Photo by Wilfredo Lee/AP.

6. One major focus of the march was securing more federal funding for HIV/AIDS research and patient care.

The marchers' voices helped lead to a more robust strategy in combating the virus in the years ahead.

Marchers unfold an AIDS memorial quilt with names of those we've lost written on its squares. Photo by Jennifer Law/AFP/Getty Images.

7. Another goal for many marchers in 1993 was ending the military's ban on LGBTQ people serving.

8. These were the days before "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," when an ever harsher ban was in place.

Before "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was passed in 1994 — technically allowing LGBTQ members to serve as long as they did so entirely in the closet — a more explicitly homophobic ban barred all LGBTQ people from serving regardless of their status as being out or not.

9. Let's not sugarcoat it; "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was still blatantly homophobic. But its passing did loosen certain restrictions.

These marchers helped push progress forward so that we could eventually be where we're at today. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was effectively repealed in 2011, and today, LGBTQ people can serve openly in our armed forces.

Photo by Mark Wilson/AP.

10. The marchers of 1993 also had other key demands in mind, like better inclusion of LGBTQ people and history in our education systems.

Shouldn't students learn about historical figures like Harvey Milk and Marsha P. Johnson just like they learn about Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King Jr.?

These marchers thought so.

It's been a long time coming, but we're starting to see signs of progress here too. In 2016, California became the first state to require LGBTQ history curriculums in its public schools — a move that may be sparking a new nationwide fight for better queer representation in classrooms, according to Vice.

11. Marchers wanted more rights for LGBTQ parents, too.

Marriage equality was a long way from being a mainstream topic in 1993, believe it or not. But these marchers were fighting for issues like same-sex adoptions and fairer custody laws long before they had widespread support in the U.S.

We now have national marriage equality and same-sex adoption from coast to coast, and studies show that kids raised by same-sex or same-gender parents grow up just as well adjusted as their peers raised by straight, cisgender parents.

12. The march also demanded an end to discrimination in all of its forms, regarding gender, race, religion, and more.

As the official march platform read:

"We demand an end to discrimination and violent oppression based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, identification, race, religion, identity, sex and gender expression, disability, age, class, AIDS/HIV infection.”

13.  In so many ways, those marchers in Washington helped pave the way for much of the progress we can now celebrate.

They certainly weren't the first pioneers of the modern LGBTQ rights movement — the Stonewall rioters can wear that badge proudly — but history will look at the 1993 march as a pivotal moment for LGBTQ equality in America.

14. And for that, those marchers deserve a big thank you.

15. But over two decades later, the job is from over.

With a new administration in place threatening to strip away LGBTQ rights, every LGBTQ person and ally should be ready to fight like hell.

In its infancy, the Trump administration has already loosened protections for transgender kids in schools across the country. If the Affordable Care Act is gutted by congressional Republicans, our progress on HIV/AIDS could be reversed.

Vice President Mike Pence — one the most anti-LGBTQ politicians in the U.S. and who is sitting atop arguably the most homophobic and transphobic party platform ever in existence — has supported conversion therapy for children, legalized the discrimination of queer business patrons, and allowed an HIV outbreak to fester during his time as the governor of Indiana.

Trump's White House cannot be allowed to take us backward. On June 11, 2017, people are joining a Pride march in Washington, ready to send a clear message to their representatives in office. Its impact has the potential to be just as loud — or louder — than in 1993.

16. Some things may have changed in the last 24 years, but our desire for nothing less than full equality remains the same.

"This whole experience has been very moving," marcher Barak Gale told The Washington Post about the march in 1993. "We don't want special rights; we just want the right to love like everyone else."

Photo by Marcy Nighswander/AP.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
True

In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Cipolla's graph with the benefits and losses that an individual causes to him or herself and causes to others.

Have you ever known someone who was educated, well-spoken and curious, but had a real knack for making terrible decisions and bringing others down with them? These people are perplexing because we're trained to see them as intelligent, but their lives are a total mess.

On the other hand, have you ever met someone who may not have a formal education or be the best with words, but they live wisely and their actions uplift themselves and others?

In 1976, Italian economist Carlo Cipolla wrote a tongue-in-cheek essay called "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity" that provides a great framework for judging someone's real intelligence. Now, the term "stupid" isn't the most artful way of describing someone who lives unwisely, but in his essay Cipolla uses it in a lighthearted way.

Cipolla explains his theory of intelligence through five basic laws and a matrix that he believes applies to everyone.

Keep Reading Show less

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick, and Gavin are 28, 26, and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

Keep Reading Show less
Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

Keep Reading Show less