Most of us are probably still recovering from the New Year celebrations (hello, 2013!) but as we look ahead to a fresh start and G Philly‘s third anniversary, we wanted to also take a look back on some of the most influential (and gayest) moments of 2012.
1. President Obama comes out in support of marriage equality. Not only is he the first sitting president to ever publicly state that he unequivocally supports marriage rights for same-sex couples in America, but he has denounced DOMA and pushed for legislation that protects LGBT Americans from discrimination. The Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also delivered a powerful speech denouncing anti-gay crimes internationally, and vowed to impose sanctions on countries that practice discrimination.
2. More states legalize same-sex marriage. Maryland, Washington and Maine have said yes to marriage equality in this country (the first states to ever endorse it through a popular vote), bringing the total number of states who recognize it to 10. Rhode Island also recognizes marriages performed elsewhere – and New Jersey is considering a new law that could legalize it this year.
3. Brian Sims is elected as the first openly gay legislator in Pennsylvania. The out Democratic lawyer defeated longtime incumbent Rep. Babette Josephs for a seat representing the 182nd District – including Philly’s own Gayborhood. He may have been usurped when Republican Rep. Mike Fleck – a sitting legislator – came out this year. But Sims is still the first elected openly gay man to ever hold office in the state.
4. The John C. Anderson Apartments break ground on 13th Street. The new six-story LGBT-friendly senior living residence will feature 56 one-bedroom units for those aged 62 and older in the heart of the Gayborhood.
5. Barbara Gittings is honored. The pioneering LGBT activist has been honored with a sign that renames the intersection of 13th and Locust streets as Barbara Gittings Way. She was among the most influential lesbian activists in our history, having introduced LGBT literature into public libraries and participated in some of the earliest gay rights protests at Independence Hall that pre-date even the Stonewall Rebellion.
6. Philadelphia scores big on HRC’s first-ever Municipal Quality Index. Thanks to the ongoing support of the LGBT community from City Hall, the HRC handed Philly a score of 100 (the only city in the nation to achieve a perfect baseline). Several Philly companies also scored well in the organization’s popular Corporate Equality Index, including Comcast.
7. The Boy Scouts case sees new developments. The City of Philadelphia has been ordered to pay almost one million dollars in fees after trying to evict the scouts from city-owned property because of the organization’s anti-gay ban. While the city has yet to pay – and the scouts have yet to relocate – local gay entrepreneur Mel Heifitz threw his hat into the ring, offering to buy the building. But no decision has been made as of yet.
8. SEPTA to end its use of gender IDs on transit passes. Thanks to the good work of trans activists from RAGE and other groups, the region’s largest transportation provider has agreed to end the use of gender IDs on all of its transit passes. A similar uproar of voter IDs also helped spare voters from being denied access to the polls in the November presidential election.
9. More celebrities have come out of the closet. Yep, even more famous faces have told the world they’re gay (or bi) in 2012, including Anderson Cooper, Frank Ocean, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Anne Burrell and Gillian Anderson. Philly-born Pink also told The Advocate that she’s kissed a few girls (and liked it). We knew it!
10. Being transgender is no longer considered a mental illness. Finally, the American Psychiatric Association has issued new guidelines saying that being transgender cannot be considered a mental illness, ushering in a new era for trans-men and women everywhere – and (hopefully) de-stigmatizing one’s identity.
What are your favorite gay moments of 2012? Share them with us in the comment section and on Facebook.