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The world has lost a courageous hero in the fight against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation

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

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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