Trans model stuns in dress made from flags of countries where being LGBTQ is illegal.

Sometimes a fashion statement says so much more than "I'm fierce."

When Dutch designers Mattijs van Bergen and Oeri van Woezik joined forces for EuroPride, they knew they wanted to contribute something that spoke volumes. As visual artists, it was important for that message to be conveyed through the power of a single image.

Or in this case, a single dress.


The Amsterdam rainbow dress. Photo by Pieter Henket, used with permission.

The "Rainbow Dress" is 52-feet long, with a skirt made up of the flags from the 72 countries around the world where homosexuality is considered a crime.

Appropriately, the "Rainbow Dress" is being modeled by world-renowned transgender model, Valentijn de Hingh.

While the skirt was constructed of flags from countries where being gay is illegal, the bodice of the dress was constructed from the three flags of the city of Amsterdam, so as to honor "the free spirit of Amsterdam and the safe shelter Amsterdam provides for lesbian and gay people all over the world," said van Woezik in an email.

After Amsterdam's annual Pride Parade, Arnout van Krimpen and Jochem Kaan of the COC Amsterdam (a Dutch organization for LGTBQ rights) reached out to them and asked if they could do something interesting with Amsterdam's flags. Bergen and Woezik had been friends for years, and they saw this as the perfect opportunity to put their creative minds together and build something truly unique.

Afgelopen week regent het vage berichten op mijn persoonlijke Facebook over een superspannende samenwerking. Ik ga er...

Posted by OERI VAN WOEZIK on Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The concept of the dress is to take the idea of freedom of expression and turn it into a mirror that shows where in the world the freedom to be LGBTQ is lacking.

"Mattijs, Arnout, Jochem and I felt the need to do something impactful in the context of our craftsmanship. We all live in Amsterdam which considers freedom of speech and expression a universal right for everyone," wrote Woezik.

Of the 72 countries represented on the skirt of the Rainbow Dress, 10 consider homosexuality an offense that can be punishable by death. In Yemen, married men can be sentenced to death by stoning for having sexual intercourse with a man. In Qatar, Muslims can be put to death for extramarital sex of any kind. According to a 2014 report, certain homosexual acts can be punishable by flogging, a fine, or prison time in Sudan.

As a port city, Amsterdam has always been a safe haven for people from all backgrounds and of all orientations. The dress is meant to be a reminder to citizens that while the country encourages freedom of self-expression, its citizens should also be proud and supportive of that message.

Such freedom should not be a privilege that only some countries' citizens get to enjoy — it should be a given. Hopefully this bold statement will get the necessary politicians to say "yes" to the dress.

Check out the video of the dress in action at a photo shoot below:

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less