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October marks LGBTQ History Month, a time for reflecting on the community’s history as well as the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. The community’s numerous accomplishments would not have been possible without the efforts of countless individuals working tirelessly for equality. Here are 10 individuals from the past and present who have made the world a better place—and have offered words of wisdom on confidence and taking up space. 

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Last week, I had the privilege of attending  In My Mind: A LGBTQ People of Color Mental Health Conference organized by DBGM. Held once a year in New York City, the conference centers the voices of LGBTQ+ people of color, particularly trans women of color. 

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Happy New York Comic Con! As native New Yorkers and out-of-towners alike gather at Javits Center for a weekend of geekery, we had a chance to chat with Sharon Rose, a professional cosplay model who has been featured on numerous geek culture media sites, including Geeks Are Sexy and Marvel.com.

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I started research about job descriptions, work environments, and eating disorders after one friend asked for my opinion about a job position she was interested in applying for. She wrote: “If you were an employer looking for A+ candidates, would you say, after looking at my resume, that I was a perfect fit?” I knew my friend didn’t usually use a superlative like “perfect,” which made me curious and I simply assumed that as an active job seeker, she must have picked it from job descriptions.

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This week marks the annual Mental Illness Awareness Week. During this week, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and its supporters dedicate themselves to spreading awareness and understanding of mental illness across the country through support, education, and advocacy. 

Eating disorders are the deadliest mental illness, so taking a week to highlight the importance of mental illness awareness is necessary and vital. In honor of this week, here are some reasons why talking about mental illness is so important:

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Content note: descriptions of suicide and suicidal ideation.

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It’s no secret that gender stereotypes are an omnipresent aspect of today’s society. A trip to a toy store, visit to a playground, or afternoon watching children’s television programs reveal that from an early age, girls are expected to be vulnerable and in need of protection while boys are supposed to be adventurous and independent. These harsh norms are often ingrained into children before the time they reach age 10. 

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This week, the bisexual+ community is being celebrated and recognized. #BiWeek aims to increase awareness and support for LGBTQ people who fall under the bisexual+ umbrella. LGBTQ people already have many issues of being misunderstood, mislabeled, bullied, and victimized. In addition to these issues, people who fall into the LGBTQ community are far more likely to suffer from an eating disorder. 

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September is Suicide Prevention Month, which can mean a lot of different things for many people. For some, it’s a painful reminder of losing a loved one to suicide. For mental health professionals, it’s a time to advocate for screening and preventive services. For many people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, September may be an opportunity to seek help; it may also be a time that is just as challenging as the previous month to know who to reach out to, and feel comfortable doing so. 

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This past year, I got engaged. As a result, some days I find myself knee-deep in wedding planning sites and paying extra attention to what others are posting about their weddings on social media. What I’ve noticed breaks my heart. I keep seeing posts about people who feel devastated about how they looked in their wedding photos, their journey to lose weight for a certain event, or before-and-after photos with stories of how unhappy they were “before.” To make matters worse, my feed and inbox are often flooded with tips on “shredding for the wedding” or a pre-wedding weight loss boot camp.

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