2012 was a year full of awesome people and great news, I have looked back and compiled some of the best of the past year, and I feel 2013 will be just as prominate. Happy New Year everyone.
- Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Prop 8 Case: What began as a voter initiative to prevent gay and lesbian couples in California from marrying has run through the federal court system and is now up for consideration by the Supreme Court. Prop 8, also known as Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Brown) will be heard alongside a challenge to New York's gay marriage law this spring. The outcome will directly challenge the constitutionality of DOMA and a win could mean legal gay marriage nationwide.
- Gay Marriage Wins Big: A recent Post-ABC News poll shows that younger Americans under 30 support gay marriage 66 to 33 percent. Public support for same-sex marriage is on the rise. This was a telling outcome of the November 2012 elections, when a trifecta of new gay marriage states were added to the list of American equality: Maine, Maryland and Washington state.
- Tammy Baldwin First Openly Gay Senator: Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin slipped past Gov. Tommy Thompson to win a historic seat in the US Senate, making her the first openly gay person (and first Wisconsin woman) to hold a seat in the Senate. Baldwin joins a growing list of openly gay politicians leading the charge for equality.
- Gays In The Military: No, the world didn't end of 12-21. It didn't end after the repeal of DADT, either. Us gays didn't need any proof that the armed forces wouldn't be affected by allowing openly gay soldiers to serve. Still, some needed reassuring. So, how has the new pro-gay policy been working out? A year after the repeal, the Pentagon says it's been a success.
- New 'Queen James' Bible: Religious fundamentalists didn't think we as a community would sit by and continue to be whacked over the head with Bible verses. It was only a matter of time before we found our own truth. That day came in 2012, when the "Queen James" Bible was published. The title is a parody on the old classic, but the content is serious, with new interpretations of the ancient texts.
- Chik-fil-A: In 2012, chicken chain Chik-fil-A destroyed the appetites of LGBT people and allies nationwide when word got out that they has been supporting anti-gay rights organizations. To make matters worse, their president Dan Cathy was very public about the chain's stance on the opposite side of gay equality. The Gay and Lesbian Community responded by staging kiss-ins all over the country. Eventually, Chik-fil-A caved, but the community continues to turn up the heat.
- Ellen Wins Mark Twain Award: We heart Ellen. And as no surprise, so does the comedy world, which is why in October 2012, she was given the most coveted prize in laughs, the Mark Twain Award for American Comedy. Also under Ellen's belt, an honor at The Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
Many of the LGBT news from 2012 was overlooked and here are ten of them:
- Mexico has become the first country in North America to lift this ban, ahead of the USA. The concern of HIV and AIDS remains, but instead of banning all gay and bisexual men, it has done the sensible thing of instead banning those who did not test negative for AIDS or who do not have a safe sex background – such as sex workers. These really are some progressive steps for Latin America.
- Ryan Andresen had completed all he needed for the highest honour of boy scouts – the eagle award. He was out as gay where he lived and therefore refused his reward. His mother helped him start up a petition to fight the Boy Scouts for her son’s right to have his achievement recognised. In a wave of support, Ryan says that scouts were sending him their awards and he was even given money for a college scholarship on the Ellen Degeneres show. Sadly the scouts kept their stance and say that Ryan is no longer eligible to be a scout.
- Although the Mormon Church has always refused to support to the LGBT community, the first olive branch has been offered in the form of a new website. It suggests that churchgoers are becoming more compassionate in discussions and there has been a drop in the number of parents disowning gay children following the equal marriage progress in the USA. It may still be a largely homophobic institute, but this first sign of development will hopefully shape a new future for the Mormon Church.
- We had all the colours of the rainbow on this year’s X factor, with a diverse group of LGBT contestants. From the bisexual Charlie in MK1, the fabulous Rylan, early favourite and tomboy Lucy Spraggan, Jaymi from Union J, the older Chris Maloney, to single mum Jade. That’s a grand total of 6, showing a huge UK audience that LGBT comes in many different forms, and that we can also make some damn good music.
- The owners of a B&B found themselves in court after refusing to accommodate a gay couple. The case was eventually won in favour of the couple, but not before it caused a storm of controversy. Debates broke out over the rights of the owners to refuse whoever they wish, with BNP leader Nick Griffin tweeting encouragement for a demonstration outside their home – highlighting prejudice still present in the UK that we need to fight.
- When reality TV show ‘The Real L Word’ returned for a third series, one of its stars, Romi Klinger, announced that she was dating her ex-boyfriend. This caused a huge uproar amongst fans and she received a lot of abuse for her decision – outraged that she had supposedly turned her back on women. The star defended her place on the show, explaining she is bisexual, but was looked down on by the other stars for being ‘not gay.’ She said that she was seen as a traitor in the gay community, but she also received a lot of support from people who identified with her. The show kept her on and the series ended with her marriage in Vegas – to a man.
- When the American department store JC Penney hired famous lesbian and talk show host Ellen Degeneres as their spokesperson in February, the conservative group ‘One Million Moms’ were outraged and launched into protest with claims that hiring a gay spokesperson will put off customers. Their protest was met with a petition by Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to thank JC Penney for hiring Ellen and raising awareness that in 29 US states it was legal to fire someone for being gay. JC Penney thankfully kept Ellen as spokesperson, and did not back down. Later in the year, when they released an advert featuring her, the moms fired up again saying that they will avoid JC Penney at all costs. Many met this with laughter, saying it was ridiculous and there was nothing offensive about the advert, which featured Ellen talking to three elves.
- Jenna Talackova had qualified for the finals in the Miss Canada beauty pageant when she was disqualified and hit the news. It came out that she was in fact male to female transgendered. The Miss Universe Organization had disqualified her for supposedly lying on her application where she had said she was born a female, though this was not the case, but many saw it as a transphobic action. Luckily for her, the Organization ruled to allow her to compete. She may not have won a crown, but it was a step for transgender rights, and she is now set to appear on a reality TV show, in turn promoting trans visibility.
- “I feel like there is no other show on television that has done more for gay characters and more for gay storylines than Glee,” said Glee’s creator, Ryan Murphy. That much is certainly true; the ongoing gay relationships of Kurt and Blaine and also Brittany and Santana (Brittany identifies as bisexual) and now the introduction of the transgender character Unique, mean that the show has hit every letter of LGBT. Not a bad achievement for such a popular family show.
- A Danish zoo observed that after a female abandoned her egg, it was adopted by two Dads who have been working together as parents. They are not the first penguins to be observed doing this, but they are the first King penguins. The zoo reports that they are a loving family to their baby chick – a big step for gay penguin rights everywhere, and maybe an example that some humans could perhaps do with following.
Notable Coming Out's of 2012:
- Sam Champion
Gay weather anchor on Good Morning America. In a story about another gay anchorman's wedding — MSNBC's Thomas Roberts — the Champion mentioned his own engagement. He was married in December.
- Jim Parsons
Gay actor and star of The Big Bang Theory. The television star's career sure hasn't slowed down since coming out. He's nominated for a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild award, and a People's Choice Award.
- Lana Wachowski
Transgender director of The Matrix and Cloud Atlas. Nearly a decade after announcing her transition, the director finally made an appearance on camera to promote her newest project.
- Matt Bomer
Gay actor and star of White Collar
The Magic Mike star mentioned his partner and their three children while accepting an award for HIV/AIDS activism in February.
Lesbian U.S. soccer player and Olympian
Ahead of winning gold for the U.S. team in the Olympic, the Seattle Sounders midfielder came out during an interview with Out magazine.
First openly gay pro boxer
The boxer from Puerto Rico is ranked number 4 by the World Boxing Organization and told USA Today in October that being gay is just another part of his identity.
Lesbian actress, former teen star on TV and in Little Darlings
The child star, who is now 49, told People magazine it was time to come out so she could help send a message of hope to bullied youth.
Lesbian Jamaican reggae star
The star posted a message in June to her Facebook page announcing she's a lesbian and inviting people to respond with "WHO CARES."
Bisexual astronaut and first American woman in space
The famed space explorer came out only after her death when an official obituary posted on her organization's website included mention of her partner of 27 years.
Queer actor and star of The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The up-and-coming actor told Out magazine he identifies as queer during an August cover story on his latest movie.
Laura Jane Grace
Transgender lead singer of Against Me!
She told Rolling Stone in May that it was important to be a role model because of the rarity of openly trans musicians.
Bisexual Wisconsin state representative
Before her successful reelection bid, the lawmaker told local reporters she was coming out in case it might help young people struggling with their identities.
Queer trans man, writer (see The Collection), and celebrity offspring
The son of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening shared what it's like being him as part of a video series called WeHappyTrans.
R&B crooner who was once in love with another man
In the lyrics from his album, Channel Orange, Ocean sang about his love for another man. Then he went on to multiple Grammy nominations.
Gay CNN anchor and host of eponymous talk show
In an email conversation that was posted online in July, the newsman told blogger and friend Andrew Sullivan that he's gay.
Lesbian U.S. soccer player
Another who would go on to win Olympic gold, Lindsey has a mother who is a lesbian and who encouraged her to come out publicly.
The talented gymnast came out in an interview with Out magazine before not making the cut this time for the six spots on the U.S. men's Olympic team.
Lesbian Olympian and basketball star with the WNBA’s Lynx
The Minnesota Lynx basketball star announced in an interview in May with The Advocate that she is getting married to a woman.
Gay Australian football player
The Australian football player came out in September and said his teammates were quick to accept him.
The wrestler married her wife the day after Olympic trials but was cut from the team after testing positive for marijuana use.
Gay and HIV-positive Olympic trampoline gymnast
The silver-medalist came out after seeing the impact that Anderson Cooper had with his letter and wrote one of his own.
Lesbian Olympic archer from South Africa
The archer came out publicly for the first time in a statement to OutSports just before the Olympic games.
Bisexual mixed martial arts fighter
After years of fighting on American Top Team, she told Sports Illustrated in May that she'd learned to be more open about her sexuality.
Gay activist and former football player for the Titans, Redskins, and Seahawks
The former NFL player, who spent time with the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, and Seattle Seahawks, came out during an interview with OutSports.
Thank You 2012 for a great year. We welcome 2013 with open arms and here is to another year filled with more love, more marriages, more news and less of judgement, less of finger pointing and less of hate.