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You Might Call Jacob A Man With Lipstick. Well, Jacob Is Not A Man. And I Respect That.

Whether or not you can fully understand what it means to be genderqueer, what matters is that for many people, this is who they are.This may be a very quick primer on what the word means, but it's also very important. I hope it will at least make you think about how we split people into "man" and "woman."

You Might Call Jacob A Man With Lipstick. Well, Jacob Is Not A Man. And I Respect That.

From a young age, we grow up learning that the world is divided into men and women. But it's not that simple.

When we think the world is full of people who identify as either a man or a woman, this means that we believe in the gender binary.

The truth is gender is not a binary for everyone. Some people identify as both man and woman. Some people identify as neither man nor woman. Jacob is one such example.


Jacob doesn't identify as man or woman. Jacob identifies as genderqueer.

Jacob's gender pronouns are they/their/them — which means that we should refer to them in this way, because that is their preference, rather than refer to them as "he" or "she." The pronoun "they" is just one of the many gender-neutral pronouns that exist.

Being genderqueer can mean different things for different people.

There is no one-size-fits-all experience. For Jacob, it can be as much about what you wear as how you feel inside. In a Huffington Post article, Jacob wrote:

    "As an undergraduate at Duke, I spent four years learning to love and appreciate myself as a gender non-conforming person. Going into college, I thought that my desire to dress androgynously and adopt a feminine gender expression was shameful; and for the first few months of college, I hid it from others and from myself. But after years of work unearthing internalized oppression and masculine shame, I finally learned to keep my head high as I stomped by the frat boys in my five-inch heels."

It's important to note that how you dress doesn't determine your gender identity. However, dressing up a certain way *can* be a way to express your gender identity.

Besides genderqueer, there are many different terms to describe gender identity.

Like transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, bigender, agender — just to name a few. Sometimes they are used interchangeably. Sometimes they are not. Gender is very complex, and so are the terms to describe it, which is why it's important to do our research before we assume what a person's gender identity means or before we make fun of the words they use to describe it.

Jacob hits the nail on the head by saying the following:

    "At the end of the day, if you want to understand the words, go on Wikipedia and read them. ... Go read the Internet, go read some trans blogs. Is someone genderqueer? Are they trans? You don't need to know by looking at someone because the bottom line is you should respect them and love them regardless, OK?"

Watch the video below to find out more about what it means to be genderqueer.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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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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