Entertainment

Maria Joaquina Is The 11-Year-Old Trans Latina Skater Changing The World Of Competition

At just 11-years-old, Brazilian prize-winning roller-skater Maria Joaquina can skate circles around most of her competitors. Still, despite her level of athleticism, the elite skater is facing various obstacles on her path to success. Mostly because of transphobia.

In a recent report by BBC, Joaquina was celebrated for finishing second in Brazil’s national roller skating championships. Typically, this achievement would have guaranteed her a slot at the South American regionals.

Unfortunately, the South American Skating Confederation is attempting to prevent her from competing.

SASC typically allows skaters to compete as women if they have a female name on their official ID.

Joaquina does not.

Though she goes by a feminine name, the 11-year-old still has the male name given to her at birth on her birth certificate.

When the South American Skating Confederation first contacted Joaquina to notify her that she’d been disqualified from competing, her parents hit back. They took the Confederation to court and ultimately won an injunction that made it so that she would be allowed to skate in the girls’ regional competition.

Then, a seemingly corrupted series of events happened.

The Confederation ordered that the skating order be changed and Joaquina was moved from her original slot as the last competitor to the very first. All without even a slip of notice.

Video of Joaquina taking part in the regional competition that day is hard to watch. With little to no time to prepare, the skater went out onto the floor and fell. Over and over again and when she couldn’t bear it much more she began to cry. All while pushing herself to finish her skate.

In an interview with the BBC, Joaquina’s father explained that it was too much pressure.

“People saying that you’ve not been accepted and [we] don’t want you to compete” had clearly taken its toll on her. And while the Confederation has said that the schedule change was not meant to sabotage Joaquina’s performance, it also reiterated its policy of “only letting skaters compete as women if they have a female name on their official ID.”

And yet, Joaquina has used the experience to continue to florish.

In her interview with BBC she explained that she wanted “people to understand that I’m a girl. It might still say João on my ID, but I know I’m a girl.”

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Blames Indigenous Tribes For Amazon Fires

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Blames Indigenous Tribes For Amazon Fires

jairmessiasbolsonaro / Instagram

President Jair Bolsonaro is blaming the indigenous community for the fires that raged in the Amazon. The fires set off international outrage as the rainforest faced unprecedented destruction by out of control fires. President Bolsonaro went against the rest of the international community during a speech to the U.N.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wants the United Nations to know that indigenous people were responsible for the Amazon fires.

In a remote session opening the U.N. General Assembly, President Bolsonaro spoke at length about the indigenous communities starting the fires. He also used the speech to speak out against the criticism his administration is receiving over his environmental policies and his response to Covid. Brazil is currently the second most infected country in the world with the second highest death rate.

The Amazon has experienced increased fires since President Bolsonaro took office.

For the first seven months of 2020, 13,000 sq. km. (5,019 sq. miles) of the Brazilian rainforest have burned. This year saw the second-highest level of fires on a global scale with fires raging across the Amazon, Australia, and the West Coast of the U.S.

President Bolsonaro openly contradicted expert findings to fit his narrative.

President Bolsonaro claims that the humidity of the forest contains the fires. According to President Bolsonaro’s speech, fires in the Amazon only happen in certain areas because of how well the humidity can keep the fires in check.

“The fires practically occur in the same places, on the east side of the forest, where peasants and Indians burn their fields in already deforested areas,” Bolsonaro said.

President Bolsonaro’s speech touches on the environmental record his administration is known for.

The Bolsonaro administration has made dismantling environmental and indigenous rights since taking power. The administration has worked to limit the amount of land available to indigenous people and to open up Amazonian rainforest to miners, loggers, farmers, developers, and other uses that are damaging and contributing to the fires. Deforestation by these industries are largely to blame for the out-of-control wildfires that burned for a very long time in the Brazilian Amazon.

Activists are getting ready to fight for the indigenous community and the rainforest.

“We must denounce this political catastrophe that destroys the environment and our future,” Sonia Guajajara, head of Brazil’s main Indigenous umbrella organization, to NBC News.

READ: Under Bolsonaro, The Brazilian Amazon Has Reached Record-Breaking Levels Of Deforestation

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Vanessa Bryant Penned A Heartbreaking Message To Kobe On What Would Have Been His 42nd Birthday

Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant Penned A Heartbreaking Message To Kobe On What Would Have Been His 42nd Birthday

Tommaso Boddi / Stringer

Over seven months have passed since basketball great Kobe Bryant lost his life alongside his daughter Gigi and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. In the months since his death fans have paid tribute to the former shooting guard who left behind three other daughters and his wife Vanessa and watched as his family has slowly attempted to pick up the pieces of their lives without them. Since then, they’ve celebrated holidays and their own birthdays.

For the first time, over the weekend, the Bryants celebrated Kobe’s birthday.

On Sunday, Vanessa Bryant shared a heart-wrenching message to her late husband and daughter on what would have been Kobe’s 42nd birthday.

“To my baby~ Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi. I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh,” she wrote in a post on Instagram.”I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way.”

Bryant went on to open up about her struggles to move on since her husband and daughter’s deaths which occurred this past year on January 26.

“Our lives feel so empty without you and Gigi. I’ve been completely broken inside. As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters days shine a little brighter. I’m not the strong one, they are. They’re strong and resilient. I’m sure you’re proud of them. They put a smile on my face everyday,” Vanessa wrote.”I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare. I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us. I’m mad I didn’t go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache. You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should’ve been me.”

Vanessa ended her post by thanking her late husband for showing her true love and for loving her “enough to last several lifetimes.”

“I know my Gigi is celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much! Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you for now, forever and for always,” Bryant finished the post.

Fans of the Bryants were quick to commemorate him all throughout Sunday.

To celebrate Kobe, the Lakers celebrated Kobe’s birthday by sharing a reel of his game highlights. Nike also took part by debuting a commercial titled “Better | Mamba Forever.” The ad was narrated by rapper Kendrick Lamar and was launched for what the shoe company is calling “Mamba Week.”

“Kobe taught us to be better,” Lamar recalled in the ad which features video and audio of Kobe, scenes from the Black Lives Matter protests, and clips of Nike-sponsored athletes and fans he inspired with his talent.

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