Another school shooting. This time it took place at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington state. Fourteen-year-old high school freshman Jaylen Fryberg, pulled a gun out during lunch and began shooting, killing two 14-year-old girls, and severely wounding three other students before dying from a self-inflicted gun shot. Like with each school shooting before this one, we all sit back and wonder… why? How?
We can talk about guns as the root of all evil in these instances (Fryberg used a gun that was legally purchased) — and in fact, we should be shouting about the ease of access to guns in this country — but it’s not that simple. Because there’s more to it than just guns. Reports are slowly coming in that Fryberg may have targeted particular students at his school over a recent breakup. While we may never truly know his motivation, many are starting to piece together information gathered from fellow students and Fryberg’s own social media accounts. A student at Marysville-Pilchuk High School told the Seattle Times that Fryberg was “angry about a romantic relationship he was involved in, and that the girl was one of the people shot,” according to a student. Another student spoke about Fryberg and one of the victims, telling Reuters that she “heard he asked her out and she rebuffed him and was with his cousin.” The student boils it down: “It was a fight over a girl.” Keep reading »
In their new documentary, “Weed The People,” filmmakers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein profile the story of Sophie Ryan, who at seven months, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. After much research and investigation, Sophie’s parents turned to medicinal cannabis oil, and the results were almost unbelieveable — the treatment was shrinking Sophie’s tumor. “Weed The People” — which will be out next year — looks at Sophie’s story, as well as the growing industry of cannabis medicine and the impact it’s having in the lives of patients. And Sophie is not alone. There are many patients — many of them children — that are benefiting from using cannabis oil or medical marijuana to treat everything from cancer to seizures. Keep reading »
“When a baby is born, one of the first question asked when is it a boy, or is it a girl? But what if it’s not that simple?” The question, posed by actress and advocate Laverne Cox, sets the stage for the hour-long documentary, “ Laverne Cox Presents: The T-Word.” Cox, an executive producer on the project as well as the host, takes viewers into the lives of seven different transgender youth, ranging in age from 12 to 24.
The stories of these young men and women provide a face, a name, and a reality to the horrifying statistics related to the trans experience. Trans men and women face significant challenges at both systemic and daily levels. A 2014 National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report looked at the data to better understand why 41 percent of people who are trandgender or gender nonconforming have attempted suicide, a staggering nine times higher than the national average. Homelessness, which is especially prevalent in trans youth, was a large factor, with 69 percent of homeless transgender people reporting they had tried to kill themselves. Many are also victims of domestic violence, at the hands of both family and friends, according to a report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence programs, people who identify as transgender are 28% more likely to experience violence than those who are gender normative. Transphobia and trans discrimination and violence are still all too real in this country, despite the increased visibility of high profile transgender people like Laverne Cox, Janet Mock and many others. Keep reading »
If you haven’t heard already, let me be the one to fill you in: Blake Lively is pregnant! Lively, an actress and Martha Stewart wannabe (without the jail time, one hopes), announced her pregnancy via her lifestyle website Preserve. I’m actually fairly surprised that no media outlet hasn’t jumped all over writing “Will Blake Lively be able to ‘Preserve’ her body post-baby?” but sadly, such double entendre headlines are most likely around the corner.
Preserve serves up a wistful, dreamy, fanciful, and 99 percent unattainable aesthetic, unless you happen to have an extra $150 to spend on pants that look like an upside down sweatshirt or want to drop $65 on something that looks like it was made by my 2nd grade son. And, I have a sneaking suspicion that all things pregnancy will be treated similarly. But here’s the thing: pregnancy isn’t all that dreamy and fanciful. Sure, you can take some heavily filtered but no less gorgeous photos of you cupping the new life inside of you with the sun shining down, but that’s not really representative of pregnancy as a whole. And when you think about it, I can understand why. Nobody wants to talk about the not-so-perfect parts of pregnancy. Nobody wants to talk about the icky, weird, or strange parts. Nobody wants to preserve those parts. But, just in case, I’ll share a few so we can get a balanced look at what pregnancy is really like. Keep reading »