At the end of the summer, a Wired headline titled, "Monkeypox Cases in the U.S. Are Falling. No One Knows Why," went viral. The reason? A response from Twitter user @KirkCruz: "How about: LGBTQ+ folks mobilized and demanded help. We didn't sit around waiting for the government to get its shit together. We organized [vaccination] events at our bars, we told our friends, many abstained from sex while waiting to get vaxxed, just like we had to do in the '80s and '90s."
This tweet perfectly encapsulates the spirit of this year's Out100. When the LGBTQ+ community is faced with adversity, it responds with action. And there were many storms we weathered together in 2022. As I'm writing this, there's the quite literal tempest of Hurricane Ian wreaking havoc in Florida and the southern United States, another reminder of the devastating impact of climate change. But in addition to the MPV outbreak that caused pain and stigma to so many queer men, our community confronted an unprecedented onslaught of political attacks, among them "don't say gay" bills, as well as ongoing legislative and physical assaults targeting transgender and gender nonconforming people.
In response to these catastrophes, LGBTQ+ people fight back with resiliency, joy, and style, like only we can. Out's annual list of changemakers is a way of honoring those leading the charge as well as calling attention to the distance we as a community have traveled this year. These Artists, Disruptors, Educators, and Groundbreakers steer the ship through the storm. They help find the rainbow through the rain.
Among our cover stars, no one has weathered more squalls than the Old Gays. TikTok stars Jessay Martin, Mick Peterson, Robert Reeves, and Bill Lyons, all in their 60s and 70s, are imparting lessons of history and happiness to their millions of followers; and they share a few pearls of wisdom with us as well in dealing with love and tragedy.
In addition to experience, another powerful weapon against the forces of bigotry is comedy, a tool wielded with precision by Jerrod Carmichael. This year, he came out as gay in his Emmy-winning special Rothaniel, a brave act that challenged his audience and their expectations of a stand-up performer. He talks about his journey in his cover story.
Of course, one doesn't need to be a star of stage and screen to spark change in the world. As you'll see in this issue, LGBTQ+ doctors, politicians, business leaders, designers, artists, meteorologists, and even a Jeopardy! champion have all worked to move the needle.
Although this list is limited to 100 people, I often say we could easily add a few zeros to that number. So many of you have fought for us in your communities. Maybe you waited in line for hours at a sweltering outdoor vaccination site. Or convinced a family member to vote against Marjorie Taylor Greene. Or said the name of your partner aloud in a Florida classroom. Even by reading these words, you've joined the movement for greater visibility.
After the lonely era of lockdown and a summer dimmed once again by an alienating disease, it's been a joy to bring together the 2022 Out100. As this group shows, the journey toward equality is a shared one: here we all are, fighting for a brighter tomorrow in so many different, inspiring ways. Look ahead, dear reader. The rainbow is already here.
Daniel Reynolds Editor in Chief
This article is part of Out's November/December 2022 issue, out on newsstands November 8. Support queer media and subscribe -- or download the issue through Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.