The world has lost a courageous hero in the fight against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation
Photo by Raphael Renter on Unsplash

Milo Winslow was a trans rights advocate in Lincoln, Nebraska. Winslow, who was 30, passed away on March 3. He made a name for himself recently on TikTok where he spoke candidly to his 19,000 followers about his transition and his advocacy work for trans rights. He was the only trans person to testify in support of Lincoln City Council’s Fairness Ordinance to expand protection for the LGBTQ+ community.

The intersection of mental health and advocacy is not talked about much outside of advocacy circles. And that's part of why it's so important for us to tell Milo's story, the legacy he leaves behind and what we can do to ensure other vulnerable people can live happy, safe and healthy lives.

The ordinance would update Title 11, which is a city code that concerns equal opportunity. There were multiple changes to the Fairness Ordinance, but the one that Winslow was specifically advocating for concerned inclusion and sexual orientation and gender expression. This would deem transgender and nonconforming people as protected members of the community against discrimination. The ordinance passed 5-0, but shortly after it was passed, a referendum petition gathered more than 18,000 signatures to contest the protections. The petition only needed 4,137 signatures to rescind the ordinance or put it to a vote.

This was not Winslow’s first time testifying in support of an ordinance designed to protect members of the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination and harmful practices. In March 2021, he testified to support the ordinance that would ban conversion therapy on youth. Winslow was known for his conversation style advocacy, connecting with listeners on a deeper level and engaging with them with honesty and empathy. His friend Sarah Cohen Walker said he would “meet people where they were, finding ways to help them understand.”


Walker highlighted Winslow's heartfelt online content and his style of presenting “in a way that brings people along. To lead with the heart. I think leading with the heart is the hard work that a lot of people don’t have patience for.”

Another of his friends, Khalisha Casey, told the Lincoln Journal Star that Winslow experienced a lot of trauma in his life including not being accepted by his family when he came out as gay before he began transitioning. Once he began to transition, the support he found in the gay community waned, leaving him isolated once again until he was accepted by friends he met through his advocacy work.

It was a devastating blow to Winslow when more than 18,000 people signed the petition to contest Lincoln City Council's ordinance that he had fought hard to support. He took to TikTok in tears to express his disbelief and exasperation at the whole ordeal. He made a follow-up video explaining that it was too emotionally taxing and he would be taking a step back from advocacy work. He cited not feeling that he had the support system he needed to continue that work.

The next day, Milo Winslow succumbed to his depression. Tributes on TikTok continue to pour in, while his closest friends mourn his loss in private but continue to push his message out into the world. A GoFundMe has been set up in Winslow’s memory and the donations will go to a local organization that supports and advocates for trans/nonbinary/gender-expansive individuals and families.

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and struggling, you can reach out to The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386.

If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255) or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line: 741741.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

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