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13 Biggest LGBTQ+ Wins of 2018
13 Biggest LGBTQ+ Wins Of 2018
2018 has been a rough year for all of us, and for LGBTQ+ people in general. Trump and his administration have targeted several protections secured under the Obama administration. The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights opened a "Conscience and Religious Freedom Division" to allow health care providers to deny care to LGBTQ+ people by citing religious or moral reasons. Likewise, the administration reversed protections for trans students in federally funded K through 12 schools. Trump attempted to block trans people from joining the military. The administration rolled back protections for transgender inmates, announcing that transgender people in federal prison will be housed in facilities based on their gender assigned at birth. More recently, it was reported that Trump suspended crucial fetal tissue research that could aid in developing an HIV cure. While the Trump administration seems determined to strip us of our rights and progress, it has become increasingly more difficult to see the light at the end of the rainbow. Never fear, we here to remind you of all the LGBTQ+ wins of the year in fashion, media, politics, and sports. We've had many and there's much to be proud of.
1. The Trans Community Thrives in "Pose"
Over the past decade, visibility of trans people has expanded significantly, but often our experiences are displayed through a tragic lens, specifically stories about trans death. Pose marked the first time a major TV show would paint a picture of more layered and complicated trans lives. The show highlighted our community's rich and vibrant ballroom culture, presented imagery of trans women thriving, and then featured our heartbreaks in a way that didn't dehumanize us. Authentic storytelling tends to happen when writers' rooms are actually composed of queer people of color and trans folks -- Steven Canals, Janet Mock, and Our Lady J helped to guide the scripts to make everything on the show feel spectacularly resonant. Pose also marks the first time five trans women of color played leading characters on a major network television show. Thankfully, the critics also agree that the production was a revelation: Pose has has been listed as a top show of 2018 by several media outlets and the Janet Mock-directed episode, "Love Is a Message," was ranked as the best episode of the year by Vulture. We can't wait to see what season two will bring.
2. The Midterm Elections Ride the Rainbow Wave
With over 150 LGBTQ+ people elected into various seats of the federal and state governments, November's midterms brought us the Rainbow Wave. Some historic firsts to point out are Jared Polis, the first openly gay mayor of Colorado; Sharice Davids, the first openly LGBTQ+ person to represent Kansas, and one of the first Native American Congresswomen; Krysten Sinema, the first female senator from Arizona and the first openly bisexual senator. In addition to these achievements, Danica Roem, Lisa Bunker, and Gerri Cannon became the first out trans people elected to state legislature. With these folks in office, the future looks a little bit more promising for the LGBTQ+ community, despite Trump and Pence's fierce war against our population.
3. Trump’s Trans Military Ban Is Blocked… 5 times
Trump first tweeted his plans to ban transgender people from joining the military in 2017. But in March of this year, one month after the Pentagon confirmed that the first trans person enrolled in active duty, the President signed a memorandum blocking any trans people "who require or who have undergone gender transition" from serving in the armed forces. Trump's memorandum stems from the recently resigned Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis's recommendation. Four federal courts and one federal appeals court have blocked the ban, and the Pentagon has more or less opposed it from the beginning. As of now, the ban is currently under review in the 9th Circuit and the Trump Administration has requested the Supreme Court review it immediately. While the block is in place, trans people have continued enrolling in the military.
4. Lena Waithe Blazes Trails Left and Right
We swooned over Lena Waithe during her show-stealing star turn in Master of None. If you don't believe us, just ask all the straight women who slid into her DMs afterwards. At the time, Waithe became the first black woman to be nominated for a comedy writing Emmy award for her work on the production. After the show, Lena moved onto other projects, creating the The Chi, blessing us with more of her phenomenal writing. After landing the cover of Vanity Fair, were more than ecstatic this year to hear that she signed a first-look deal with Showtime and will be working on additional comedy and drama projects for the network. This is a win for black women, black queer women, and black queer actors across the board.
5. The Most Openly Trans Models in History Hit the Catwalks
Despite Ed Razek spilling Victoria's most well-known Secret -- that trans people were not desired for their runway -- this year was unprecedented for trans models in the industry. September's New York Fashion Week and the show calendars overall witnessed the most trans models ever hired for the runway. Models slayed the catwalk for designers including Opening Ceremony, Telfar, Chromat, Gypsy Sport, Marco Marco, Eckhaus Latta, and many others. With this much representation and the normalizing of our existence in the fashion industry, the upcoming fashion season is (hopefully!) slated to be more inclusive than ever before.
6. Janelle Monáe Comes Out
Janelle Monae has always transgressed gender roles visually with her fashionable ensembles, and perhaps unbeknownst to her, she became a queer icon for Black and Brown LGBTQ+ millennials even though she never openly discussed her sexuality. Monae remained mum after rumors swirled about her possible relationship with another queer fave, Tessa Thompson. Finally, in April, the entertainer spoke publicly for the first time about her sexuality in Rolling Stone magazine. She explained, "Being a queer Black woman in America ... someone who has been in relationships with both men and women -- I consider myself to be a free-love proponent." She continued, "But then later I read about pansexuality and was like, 'Oh, these are things that I identify with too.' I'm open to learning." Once the music video for "Pynk" dropped, Monae's place in the queer canon was cemented forever.
7. India Decriminalizes Homosexuality
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of India overturned a 150-year-old law that illegalized consensual gay sex. This was a step in the right direction toward overcoming violence and repression towards India's LGBTQ+ population: Now that that LGBTQ+ Indians are partially legally recognized by their country, we can only hope for more strides in legislation to come.
8. A Trans Woman Is Elected as State Representative in Brazil
Erica Malunguinho was elected as the first ever trans woman to become a State Representative in the Legislative Assembly of Sao Paolo. Malunguinho's election is significant: Brazil is home to the largest trans population in the world. While many Brazilian laws are trans-inclusive, the murder rate of trans people there is the highest in the world. Now that Jair Bolsonaro, a man who supports eliminating LGBTQ+ rights, is president-elect, Malunguinho's voice is more crucial than ever before.
9. Jaboukie Young-White Joins "The Daily Show"
Jaboukie Young-White, a standup comedian, who happens to be a queer, Black man, became widely known after several of his Twitter and Instagram memes went viral. The meme king subsequently amassed a large following on both platforms, and through his large audience, he used his comedic talents to bring to light issues like racism, homophobia, and (of course) Beyonce. Netflix soon took notice of Young-White; he was hired as a writer for their animated comedy Big Mouth as well the crime parody American Vandal. In October 2018, the self-proclaimed Short King debuted as a correspondent on The Daily Show, jokingly discussing why young millennials don't vote. Cheers to more Black, queer comedians in media.
10. The First Trans Woman Gets a Principal Role on Broadway
Peppermint became a household name when she appeared in the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. The season ended with her as the runner-up, but it was evident to viewers and fans everywhere that she was a star and excellent entertainer. That's why so many rejoiced when, in early 2018, it was announced that Peppermint would be heading to Broadway. In June, she debuted as the first ever trans woman to originate a principal role on Broadway for the musical Head over Heels. You can catch Peppermint and her show until January 9, 2019.
11. More State IDs Include Nonbinary A Gender Marker
Last year, several states including Oregon, California, and Washington emerged with new progressive policies that would add the nonbinary marker "X" as an option on IDs or birth certificates. In 2018, additional states have joined the ranks, with plans to validate the identities of their nonbinary citizens: Maine and Minnesota have added "X" on their state issued IDs, New York will grant the option for birth certificates, and over the summer, it was also revealed that Arkansas has provided the gender neutral option on state IDs since 2010. We're hoping this trend continues for various identifying documents in other states across the nation.
12. Trans Man Wins His Debut Boxing Match
Patricio Manuel, a trans man, won his debut professional boxing match 39-37 against his opponent, Hugo Aguilar. Patricio, who previously fought in the women's division and was a five-time national champion, began transitioning in 2013. He spent the following six years overcoming several hurdles, first having a difficult time to acquire licensing, and then finding a gym and coach willing to train with him. Even after joining Oscar De La Hoya's training club, Golden Boy Promotions, many other men were reluctant to fight him. With a short list of opponents, his most recent fight was his first in almost two years. His win helped him punch through barriers and shed stereotypes for aspiring trans boxers.
13. LGBTQ+ Cinema Becomes the Norm
2018 was a spectacular year for LGBTQ+ cinema, as we bore witness to an upsurge of mainstream queer films. Love, Simon, a coming of age story queer romance, is a leap forward for the Hollywood, as it is the first time a major film studio spotlighted a gay teenage romance. Similarly, Rafiki, a film about a budding romance between two young women, made breakthroughs for the LGBTQ+ community in Kenya. The film's release was marred by controversy when Kenya banned streaming of the film, citing the country's long standing anti-gay laws. After international outcry, the film was finally allowed a screening for only seven days to grant the film an oppounrtunity at an Oscars nom. It has been screened globally and was met with rave reviews. One of many firsts, Boy Erased andThe Miseducation of Cameron Post tackled homophobic abuse, portraying queer youths subjected to gay conversion and its ill treatment. Praised for its exceptional on-screen performance, Boy Erased, has received various awards and nominations, including a 2019 Golden Globe nom for best actor. Love, Simon, Rafiki, Boy Erased, and more visibility like it make it pointedly clear we no longer need just one "gay moment," LGBTQ+ narratives are commonplace, and are here to stay.
Karamo, Jonathan, Tan, Bobby, and Antoni became the fairy godparents we've always wanted but never had in Queer Eye.
Adam Rippon became the first openly gay athlete to win a medal at the Winter Olympics.
A queer romance blossomed in Riverdale. Cheryl and Toni are hella cute.
Several celebrities came out, including Brandon Urie, Tessa Thompson, Alyson Stoner,and Amandla Stenberg. Kehlani came out again but this time as queer!
Troye Sivan sang about what it's like to bottom in his song Bloom.
Gus Kentworthy kissed his boyfriend on live TV at the Winter Olympics, a historic moment that went viral.
Last, but not least, Hayley Kiyoko, released her album, Expectations, debuted the queer anthem of the year, "Curious," and dedicated one of her awards to queer women of color. She truly is Lesbian Jesus.