Happy holidays! In addition to our holiday card featuring hot strangers in Santa hats (not worn on their heads), we wanted to include a little update on what our big gay family has been up to this year.
It has been a big year for us. From the courts to sports, music to the military, we have really been a busy clan, and a growing one. One of our friends at the Human Rights Campaign even called 2013 “the gayest year in gay history.” And when you look back at what we’ve done, we’re so proud!
The year started with a bang back in January when the president (yes, of the United freakin’ States!) gave us a shout-out. “Our journey is not complete,” said President Obama, “until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.” Yeah, it was a big deal. First time, actually! Barack may not be part of the family, but what a good friend he’s grown into.
In addition to our friends in high places, 2013 saw our family aiming high on every job front.
Last spring, Dr. Saul Levin became the first openly gay person to head the American Psychiatric Association. (And to think they listed homosexuality as a mental illness up until the seventies. Go, Dr. Saul!)
Over in the military, less than two years since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell fell by the wayside, Major General Trish Rose became the highest-ranking openly gay officer in the entire U.S. military this year. (We’re so proud of her, a badass two-star general in the Air Force!)
Higher up the ranks, Eric Fanning took over as Acting Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, making him the highest-ranking official in the entire Department of Defense—and he’s family, too!
Speaking of jobs, the ongoing fight to make sure we can keep ours saw a legislative milestone when the Senate passed ENDA, a ban on employment discrimination against us. No law on the books just yet (we’re still dealing with some pesky bullies in our House), but it’s a big step!
Just a few days after that jobs vote, we helped one of Houston’s hometown girls keep her job at City Hall: Annise Parker landed a solid victory, employed (again) as mayor of the nation’s fourth-largest city.
Do you hear that sound? Is that . . . more wedding bells ringing for newlyweds throughout our giant family? From Illinois to Hawaii, we’re planning weddings in all climates, and warming more and more to the realization that marriage equality is right, and good.
Gosh, even the Supreme Court of the United States sided with us on the marriage issue. Striking down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act was no doubt one of the most impactful moments of the year, and they timed it perfectly—right before Pride! All these happy couples in states that let us wed under the law will now have access to the federal benefits we’ve fought so fiercely to win.
Even our distant cousins in New Zealand, Uruguay, Brazil, and elsewhere are finally getting the chance to say “I do,” under the law.
And as we celebrate legalized marriages, we’re also celebrating new members of our big happy (and out!) gay family. Welcome, Jodie Foster! Welcome, Wentworth Miller! We always knew, but it’s so nice to officially include you in our holiday newsletter this year.
And in the sports world, soccer player Robbie Rogers came out, marking a North American first as an openly gay player stepped on the field for the L.A. Galaxy (yep, hottie David Beckham’s
In an even bigger slam-dunk, basket-baller Jason Collins bravely stepped out as the first openly gay active player in a major U.S. sport. The NBA responded with overwhelming support, and fellow athlete Robbie Rogers tweeted “I feel a movement coming.”
Such a movement—even a pro wrestler flung open (or maybe threw a chair at and crashed through) his closet door. Darren Young is the first active WWE performer to do so. Our family is getting bigger, both figuratively and literally! (Have you seen him? He’s huge.)
Even in the rap world, we’ve found an ally. “No freedom till we’re equal; damn right I support it,” proclaimed rapper Macklemore on mainstream radio stations across the country. Despite the song’s ardent support of marriage equality, it hit #1 in four countries, and sold more than two million copies in the U.S.
So it’s been a good year for our big gay family. Of course, progress hasn’t come without its challenges—perhaps most notably in Russia, which has taken some major steps backward for LGBT folks. But their neighbors in the Ukraine celebrated their first pride parade this year!
And as we head for 2014, in the words of that hit song, our progress this year “is a damn good place to start.”
Happy holidays to you and yours!
Blake Hayes is the morning host at Mix 96.5 KHMX.